Hump-Day News Chum: Car Tones for Hybrids, Cake Wrecks, KTLA’s Logo, and Sportsmans Lodge

Ah, it’s Wednesday. Time for some hump-day lunchtime news chum. Today’s theme seems to be “What Change Hath Wrougt”. Some of our stories are about the impact of technology changes, the others relate to changes in the San Fernando Valley….

  • From the “I Can’t Hear You” Department: We’re all familiar with fake telephone rings: that is, ring tones that sound like an old-fashioned phone, even though they are being generated by a non-physical bell. Well, it appears that we may soon have “drive tones” because hybrids are too silent. Car manufacturers are building in car sound effects to warn pedestrians of a car’s approach. For example, the Fisker Karma, an $87,900 plug-in hybrid expected to go on sale next year, will emit a sound — pumped out of speakers in the bumpers — that the company founder, Henrik Fisker, describes as “a cross between a starship and a Formula One car.”. So, want your car to sound like a Ferrari… or a Model-T… there’s an app for that. And speaking of apps and sound effects, a company has developed an iPhone app for everyday sound effects: crickets for bad jokes, rimshots for other jokes, evil laughs, etc.
  • From the “Yes, Everyone is Watching You” Department: Used to be, when you screwed up, only you or a small circle of your friends knew it. Now the whole world knows. Isn’t that comforting? The NY Times is reporting about a popular blog and book about cake icing disasters called Cake Wrecks. Quoting from the first paragraph of the article, “Finally, a few words about customer service: When someone requests that nothing be written on the cake, “NOTHING” should not be written on the cake.” Supposedly, around 100,000 visitors a day are gawking at Cake Wrecks, and more than a million people subscribe to the author’s updates on Twitter.
  • From the “Everything Old Is New Again, Part I” Department: The Franklin Avenue blog has an interesting article on KTLA-5’s new News Set… and an even more interesting discussion on the evolution of KTLA’s logo, and how it has returned to the stylized “5” of the old days. This particularly interests me, as I find corporate logos and icons interesting (I was once obsessed with articles on the NBC “N”).
  • From the “Everything Old Is New Again, Part II” Department: Another old thing being reborn is Sportsmans Lodge in Sherman Oaks, which is reopening under new owners, newly remodeled. According to the new owners, the previous darkness is gone, and the place has been restored to the brightness and elegance of the 1930s and 1940s with an emphasis on white. Supposedly the rubber chicken cuisine is gone as well. However, some valley institutions are going away. Curbed LA reports on a plan to demolish Victory Plaza at Coldwater Canyon and Victory, and replace it with a mixed use development with condos, business, a transit plaza, and a hotel, ala the Americana development in Glendale. Somehow, I don’t think it will be that successful: that part of the Valley doesn’t really call out for luxury shopping and hotels.