I first heard about the web site "Serious Eats" ( http://seriouseats.com ) a month ago, when its founder Ed Levine was interviewed on Jesse Thorn's terrific radio show/podcast. (Jesse's long-running show was then known as "The Sound of Young America," but since the first of the year been renamed and slightly reformatted as "Bullseye.")
If you watch cooking shows or food travelogue shows on TV, you have got to check out the Serious Eats site. It's crammed with readable, well-written information about everything from breakfast cereal to "10 Hot Dogs That Haunt My Dreams."
The volume of newly-added content each week is just shocking; I will go to Google Reader to check my RSS feeds and a high percentage of the new entries will be posts from the Serious Eats site. There are sites-within-a-site dedicated to the best hamburgers (A Hamburger Today) and the best pizza (Slice) around the country, and both also include tips and recipes for those who are trying to prepare restaurant-quality food at home. They also have mini-sites specific to New York and Chicago, promising more city-specific sites in the future.
It's a wealth of fun, readable food information, with slideshows like "29 Touristy Spots in America That Are Actually Good," a list which includes Prince's Hot Chicken in Nashville.
Having as I do a Y chromosone, I haven't yet tried Pinterest, the hot new social sharing site, but since recipes are part of what gets shared there, a lot of food-related sites -- including Serious Eats -- have been quick to add one-button sharing to Pinterest alongside the share-to-Facebook, share-to-Twitter and share-to-Google-Plus buttons.
I highly recommend that you go back and listen to Levine's interview, by the way; it's thoughtful and entertaining. You can find it at http://goo.gl/9q5VY .
On Leo Laporte's TWiT network this Sunday, when he was killing time between his "Tech Guy" radio show and his signature "This Week in Tech" podcast, he talked about a web service called AudioBoo ( http://audioboo.fm ). AudioBoo is a method of leaving brief audio messages on the web, which can easily be linked to, for example, from a Twitter or Facebook message. The free account allows you to leave messages of up to three minutes. There's a paid account which includes messages of up to 30 minutes.
Messages can be left from your computer (provided you have a microphone plugged in or a built-in microphone) or from your mobile phone or tablet; official apps are available for iOS, Android and Nokia's proprietary app system. While there's no official app for Windows Phone, a third-party developer has created a Windows Phone app using Audioboo's API.
To hear a sample message recorded from my Mac here in the newsroom, go to http://audioboo.fm/boos/626133.
This seems like it could be a handy service for times when you need to get out a brief message but want the nuances of voice communication rather than the impersonal, easy-to-misinterpret quality of text. It would also be a great thing for birthday greetings -- gather the family, have them sing "Happy Birthday," and then send the link to the out-of-town honoree.
But as with so many web services, there may be new uses for it that the original designers didn't even consider.
--John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette and covers county government. He is also the author of the self-published novel "Soapstone." His personal web site is lakeneuron.com.