Television Program On Wood Ignites Passion In Norwegians

If you’re going to visit Norway, we’d suggest you do some reading before you arrive. And no, we’re not suggesting that you buy a phrasebook or learn how to navigate the local public transportation systems – we suggest that you seek some knowledge about a topic apparently of great interest to the population: wood.

This article in the New York Times today shows the country’s unprecedented reaction to a new television program about wood. Approximately 20 percent of the country’s population tuned in to some part of the show, which aired on a Friday night in prime time and featured four hours of programming and eight hours of a live fireplace shot. The article states that just over 20 percent of the population, a total of 1.2 million people, use wood for their home heating or stoves.

We in America might relate to the latter portion of the program – the Yule Log channel is often part of our holiday repertoire, along with classics like “Miracle on 34th Street.”

But we’re talking about 12 hours of a show on WOOD here, people.

What do you think? Would you attempt to have a conversation with a Norwegian about his or her love of wood on your next visit, or would you stick to something a bit safer, like the weather?

[Image Credit: Flickr user Rubber Dragon]

Photo of the Day – Matryoshka dolls

For travelers, Russia is a country that is at once fascinating and baffling. An oft-cited metaphor for Russia’s many charms and mysteries is the Matryoshka doll, a typical wooden figurine pictured in today’s photo. At first glance, the Matryoshka appears to be a single doll, but when opened, reveals a series of ever-smaller figures inside. Adding to the mystery of today’s photo, taken by Flickr user Christian Carollo Photography, is the fact the photo wasn’t taken in Russia at all – the shot is actually from Philadelphia.

Have any great travel photos you’ve taken recently? Why not add them to our Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

Better sound through wood – Gadling reviews the iFrogz Timbre headphones

Are you tired of the boring and bland white headphones that came with your (smart)phone? How about investing in a pair of headphones that not only look cool, but also sound fantastic? The iFrogz Timbre headphones on review here today may be just what you are looking for. Combining a wooden sound chamber with a high-definition microphone makes for a surprisingly impressive pair of buds.

Wood has long been known for its good acoustical qualities, and even though I’m by no means an audiophile, I did find the sound from the Timbres to be on par with a $250 pair of professional headphones I happened to have lying around.

Bass is rich, and thanks to the three different earpieces, you should be able to find a fit that makes them as comfortable as possible. Once inserted, they also provide a very decent amount of noise isolation.

The “high definition microphone” may sound like a marketing gimmick, but I really did find it to perform better than most products in this price range. The microphone also features the control button needed for picking up (and hanging up) on calls, but it is hidden behind a rubber sleeve so it took me a bit to even realize it was there. When on phone calls, most people could not tell the difference between a call directly on my phone, or on the headset.

The iFrogz Timbre feature a regular 3.5mm headphone jack, which will work on the iPhone, iPod Touch, most recent Blackberry devices and the Palm Pre.

The Timbres are available in two “flavors” – with or without a microphone. The microphone version costs $49.99, and the non-mic version is $39.99.

PROS: Great sound, nice looks, fantastic microphone quality
CONS: Price, rubber mic cover and earpieces pick up dust quite easily

I’m a big fan of headphones – especially those that are not the same bright white ones you find attached to someone walking down the street talking far too loud into his or her phone. The iFrogz Timbres feel well made, and produce good quality audio. Of course, the looks won’t satisfy everyone, but chances are, you’ll be the only person on your street that has wooden headphones.

Photo of the Day (6.9.09)

The Irish population in Boston, where I’m currently spending my sabbatical, is among the highest in the nation, Beantown being the recipient of many immigrants during the potato famine in the mid 1800’s. You can see influence from the Irish all over the city, from statues erected in downtown Boston to pubs scattered throughout the city.

This photo, apparently taken by CaptBrando at Kinsey’s in Boston is the subject of all of those pubs and the great unifier among many travelers around the world. Beer. Magnificent, magnificend beer.

Got any cool photos that you’d like to share with the world? Add them to the Gadling Pool on Flickr and it might be chosen as our Photo of the Day. Make sure you save them under Creative Commons though, otherwise we can’t use them!