Scan, spin, and shop with the DinnerSpinner app

The Allrecipes.com DinnerSpinner app (free) lets you quickly find recipes and easily build grocery lists. If you like games of chance or dislike the first step in preparing any meal -- finding a recipe -- you'll enjoy the DinnerSpinner. And for more targeted searches, you can use the app's new bar code scanner, which arrived with an update earlier this week.

The main screen of the app is the DinnerSpinner, which features three spinnable rows of meal attributes: Dish Type, Ingredients, Ready In. You can manually swipe through each row and make your selection, or you can … Read more

Thanksgiving cooking apps for iOS

Thanksgiving is next Thursday and some of you out there are inevitably faced with the challenge of producing the most celebrated meal of the (U.S.) year.

Fortunately, there are a number of cooking apps in the iTunes App Store to choose from that can help you pull the meal together if you have an iOS device. While your pristine touch screen might get a little smudged in the process--or not--I think you'll appreciate the easy navigation and added tools in each of this week's cooking apps.… Read more

E-mails raise fresh questions on Solyndra loan


An Obama administration appointee at the Energy Department pressed White House analysts to sign off on a $535 million loan to Solyndra even though his wife worked for the failed solar panel maker's law firm, according to internal e-mails made public on Friday.

The revelation adds new drama to a political battle over the administration's backing for Solyndra, which has filed for bankruptcy and has been raided by the FBI. The newly disclosed e-mails reveal "a disturbingly close relationship" between the White House, campaign donors, and wealthy investors relating to Solyndra, congressional Republicans said.

The e-mails show frequent inquiries from Steven Spinner, who was an adviser to the Energy Department on its use of economic stimulus funding to spur clean-energy technology, on the Solyndra loan, according to a report in The New York Times.

On September 29, the Energy Department had posted a "fact check" on Spinner's involvement in the Solyndra case on its Web site, explaining that he started his job after the company received conditional approval for its loan application.

The department said Spinner "was recused from engaging in any discussions on decisions affecting specific loan applications in which his spouse's law firm was involved out of concern for the appearance of a conflict of interest." … Read more

Abysmal content copier

"Raquel Dawson, 17, of Oklahoma Municipality was walking to touch in worrying sequence Weekday when she patterned a mate stranded in a car as a ascending river swamped a street." Is this the kind of "quality and original content" you want for your Web site? If so, Article Spinner is the program for you.

This is, frankly, one of the most bizarre--and useless--programs we've come across. Its purpose is pretty shady to begin with; it starts with the premise that Web site owners shouldn't put any effort or money into creating content for their … Read more

Could a simple salad spinner help save lives?

Challenged to find a way to diagnose anemia that's affordable, mobile, and requires no electricity, Rice University undergrads Lila Kerr and Lauren Theis turned to an old-fashioned salad spinner.

They call it the Sally Centrifuge and are taking it to Ecuador in May and Swaziland and Malawi in June, all as part of Rice's Beyond Traditional Borders global health initiative, which is aimed at creating innovations in biotechnology.

The centrifuge is, the students admit, a pretty simple idea. "There was a whole range of projects to take on this year, and luckily we got one that wasn't terribly engineering-intensive," says Kerr, a sociology major and global health technologies minor from Dayton, Ohio.

When little capillary tubes containing 15 microliters of blood are spun in a salad spinner for 10 minutes, the blood separates into heavier red blood cells and lighter plasma.

The resulting hematocrit--the proportion of total blood volume taken up by red blood cells that they measure with a simple gauge held up to the tube--determines whether that patient is anemic. That in turn help diagnose issues such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and malnutrition.… Read more

A spinner for dinner

Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner is a free, ad-supported app that gives you fun and easy access to the user-generated recipes on this popular cooking Web site. The Dinner Spinner gives you a slot-machine-style interface that helps you search for--or just stumble upon--new meal possibilities: you can rotate horizontal spinners to choose a recipe by meal type, ingredient, and cook time, or you can shake your iPhone or iPod Touch (or press a touch-screen button) to randomize any or all of the criteria.

This interface gimmick works surprisingly well, especially with some fixed criteria (like, say, you know you have lamb … Read more

Squash your salad spinner

A challenge of any kitchen, especially those that belong to gadget enthusiasts, is finding the space to store everything. For many people, the only way around this obstacle is to limit the number of times they indulge themselves in buying the latest and greatest kitchen tools. But in some cases, some clever modifications allow us to stock up on gadgets without worrying about running out of space.

This Collapsible Salad Spinner on Sur la table's Web site solves the space issue by using a patented design that allows the bowl to be collapsed to one third of its original … Read more

iPhone apps of the week

By now most people have heard the rags to riches stories of the iPhone app developers who learned a valuable secret: Make a "lite" version. It seems reasonable that while there are a lot of people willing to pay for apps, many want to know what they're getting before spending their hard-earned cash. One of our iPhone apps this week has benefited immensely from creating a lite version and I have to admit, I probably wouldn't have tried it myself if they hadn't. The lite version has now made it to the top of iTunes' … Read more

Zyliss puts a new spin on salad

When I was little, I "helped" in my grandmother's kitchen. One of my favorite jobs was always spinning the salad. I could crank that handle with the best of them, even if I was notorious for refusing to eat the lettuce that came out dry. Grandma's salad spinner has gone off to that kitchen in the sky--perhaps helped along by some five-year-old's enthusiastic spins, but Zyliss has one heck of a replacement.

The Smart Touch Salad Spinner is an award-winning salad cleaner--it picked up the 2008 Red Dot Award for International Design Excellence. Rather than … Read more

Don't toss those cassettes just yet

Maybe it's the holidays, but we've been reminiscing a lot lately here at Crave. And we would like to thank everyone for indulging us--but first, one last trip down memory lane (until the next one).

The latest item to trigger memories of our misspent youth is the "Plus Deck Cassette Converter" offered on Firebox.com, which calls it a "full logic, front-loading cassette deck that can convert, edit and play tapes on your PC" by converting them into MP3 files. But Gearlog said it best, explaining eloquently how this gadget can help you relive your glory daysRead more