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Some things never change

Shopping for a new car is both great fun and great pain. Our last car lease ran out and I waited til the last moment to start the shopping process. Why? Because even though test drives are fun the buying experience is not. Every time I mentioned we were going car shopping, everyone assured us — “this is a great time to buy”. I’m still not so sure.

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Making old news viral today? What’s up with Google Alerts?

I’m about ready to shut down my use of the google alerts feature.  When it first came out it was wonderful.   It’s a great way to get competitive & industry news as it happens.   Over the past year however, much of the news is old news — sometimes really old news.   circa 2001, 2, 3, 4 …

This phenomenon was noticed and blogged about last year.   I bet a little digging will show quite a few others complaining about this useful service gone bad.

Last month panic selling of United Airlines stock was attributed to google alerts.

A number of times I was ready to pass along old news as new news.  Lucky, each time as I was about to hit send  I caught the old-date and saved myself the embarrassment.   With the huge deluge of information out there, a service like google alerts is truly useful, but if and only if, the news is actually new news.

Google,  how hard it is to write a simple filter to kick out the news that is obviously back-dated by years?   How many other services are leveraging yours?   Seems like a lot.   Everytime I get old news — as emailed to me by google alerts — it shows up in my twitter stream, in my friend feed, and in …  Well you get the picture.

Google is a great brand – why tarnish it up by constantly sending out untrustworthy information?

 

Red Bull Flugtag Portland 2008

Red Bull’s Flugtag came to PDX yesterday.   What a fun event.  I hadn’t heard about it, I discovered all of the contraptions on the waterfront on my Saturday hike.    I headed home to grab a camera body and the long zoom (Canon 100-400 L series) and a tripod.

Watching the event is great fun even from a distance.   There were a hundred if not a thousand boats gathered along the shoreline, viewers lining both sides of the Willamette and of course a ton of people lining the Hawthorne bridge which was my vantage point.   To learn more about the entrants and the winner Team Yakima visit the official Red Bull Portland Flugtag web site. Not only did Team Yakima have the coolest ride (there were a lot of cool rides, I thought the giant trike was really fun), but they also had the longest flight.    The best designs combined a hang glider with a cool base.    Team Yakima soared 62 feet after the glider breaks away from the trike.

What a cool ride

What a cool ride

Check out the rest of my better shots here – My Flickr Pics of Portland Flugtag 2008.

If Flugtag makes it to a city near you check it out.  I even tried my first Red Bull Cola.

 

Max’s Oysterbar West Hartford Connecticut

On July 4th we discovered Max’s Oyster Bar in West Hartford.  We walked in about 3:30 in the afternoon to a very quiet restaurant. We’d missed lunch and Dinner service wasn’t until 5. However, the bar was open and we took our stools and discovered that not only was the bar open but so was the raw bar. Yum!

We ordered a sampler tray and drinks and received a joyous tray of sumptuous seafood. Different mussle preparations, big plump prawns, clams, oysters, scallops. Everything was fresh, the oysters with briny, the scallops delicious. What a treat. About 4:30 when starting in on our 2nd round of drinks we were handed the dinner menu where we both zero’ed in on the Lobster Dinner Special. A pile of clams and mussels with a boiled lobster for just $28.00.

Our lobster’s were perfect. On the west coast we never get lobster’s this fresh, tasting so sweet.  All of the meat (we ate was everything) was sweet and good. We don’t know when we will make it back to West Hartford, but if you read this and are headed that way make your Max’s reservation on open table.

Highly recommended.  Great bar, great seafood, wonderful staff.

 

What is Office Depot Thinking?

I am a big fan of making purchases online for in-store pickup.  This is especially true for buying office supplies.  I find office supply stores nearly impossible to shop.  A short list of 5 things takes 20-30 minutes to track down searching aisle after poorly marked aisle.  I dread shopping at any of the Office Supply Megastores.

Shopping online is a dream.   With just a few keystrokes I can find what I’m looking for,  load my cart and buy. I drive right by an office depot to and from work. It’s not even 1/2 block out of the way — it’s right on my route. For the past couple of years whenever I’ve needed ink, paper, pens you name it I buy online and make the 3 minute stop at office depot to pickup my order.

At least it USED to be 3 minutes. My order used to be waiting for me up front, fully processed, just waiting to verify my identify and out the door I go.  Couldn’t be easier.

Office Depot has since completely revised their procedures. I arrived at the store this morning while running errands and there’s my order waiting for me.  But,  the order hasn’t been processed its only been “picked”.   The clerk has to call up a manager to process the order.  The manager starts processing the order, and training the clerk at the same time (telling him he’s teaching him to fish).   Meanwhile, the computer system hangs and it takes quite a bit of time to get my order scanned in and processed.   Then the manager tells me he needs to print out my receipt but he can’t do it here — he heads off to another part of the store.

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