Sunday, March 19, 2006

If I were Great Clips . . .

 . . . I would post pictures of popular hairstyles on my website.  There are lots of publicly available pictures of celebrity haircuts and I just looked up the Flickr tag “haircut” and there are 11,000+ pictures, which means someone might have to do a little work to weed through and link to some of the pictures that are trendy.  The unfortunate side to this strategy is that it’s really easy to duplicate, but Great Clips could issue digital cameras to every store and take pictures of real customers and pretty soon not be dependent on free sources.

Those books with pictures of haircuts that are left out in the lobby just don’t cut it anymore — ask any woman and she’ll tell you that she brings in pictures of the hairstyle she wants.  Oh, and those posters don’t really work any more either:

Link — Great Clips

Tiered access

Do you know what “tiered access” is?  Chances are good that you do not because there has never been a real widespread adoption of tiered access in major areas where it affects the lives of a lot of people.  Tiered access essentially means that those who pay more will receive higher quality of service while those who pay less will receive a much lower quality of service.

There’s an interesting article in The New Yorker about how many ISPs are considering a tiered access strategy for companies that use their bandwidth:

Until recently, companies that provided Internet access followed a de-facto commoncarriage rule, usually called “network neutrality,” which meant that all Web sites got equal treatment. Network neutrality was considered so fundamental to the success of the Net that Michael Powell, when he was chairman of the F.C.C., described it as one of the basic rules of “Internet freedom.” In the past few months, though, companies like A.T. & T. and BellSouth have been trying to scuttle it. In the future, Web sites that pay extra to providers could receive what BellSouth recently called “special treatment,” and those that don’t could end up in the slow lane.

Once again ISPs are trying to make money from both sides — they collect money from the consumer to connect to the internet from their home and now they are trying to charge websites to provide better service.  Where’s Googlenet when you need it?

Hat tip to Bob Lefsetz for pointing me towards this story.



Someone e-mailed me about CozmoTV, so I went to check it out.  I’m trying to figure out exactly what it does, but I think that it does something really cool for my TiVo.  One of the big frustrations with scheduling shows to record and season passes for show on TiVo is that you cannot schedule them 3 months out, which is many times when I’m thinking about wanting to record something.  I’m pretty sure that CozmoTV solves this issue, but I haven’t been able to play with it enough.

It appears that when I register for CozmoTV, I give it access to my TiVo account (CozmoTV currently only works with TiVo), which essentially allows CozmoTV to access all of the TiVo devices on my account.  I’m trying to figure out if I should be worries about providing a 3rd party site with access to my TiVo — after all, TiVo is essentially a computer sitting on my private home network and it interacts with other computers on my network in pulling down iTunes audio and iPhoto photos.  I can’t seem to get the Terms of Use or Privacy Policy to load, so I’m not willing to provide any person information until I can read those.

There definitely appears to be a social component to CozmoTV that allows users to rate shows and recommend shows.  Most shows that I browsed show their “Price” as being “Free,” which makes me wonder if CozmoTV has plans for exclusive content that will be a premium charge that CozmoTV can push directly to your TiVo box or perhaps CozmoTV wants to be a 3rd party collection site for premium programming for others.

The whole interface for CozmoTV is in Flash, which is pretty slick, but that’s why it runs an initialization prior to booting every time you visit the site.

Once I can read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, I’ll let you know further thoughts.


15" Powerbook battery software update

Hey, I’ve got one, so this matters to me.  Does anyone else feel like there have been a really large amount of battery issues on the 15” Powerbook?

This should get automatically download when you run Software Update.  Here’s the full description of the update if you need all the technical details.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Samsung A-920 initial impressions

Before I even start using it:

  • Cool looking color
  • Speakers on the sides make it look a little goofy
  • Battery and transflash card pre-inserted
  • Goofy rectangular charger connector
  • Large outside display
  • Amazing resolution on the interior display
  • Booted up and said “Locked,” which meant that I actually had to pull out the instructions (lame).  Too many choices for the unlock code — four 0’s or the last four of the phone number or NATL; if none of those work, then call Sprint.  Once I figured out the correct code, everything started up fine.
  • Sticker on the screen showing how to hold the phone so that the internal antenna is not blocked — seems like the way I want to hold the phone is exactly how I should not be holding it.
  • No Outlook sync for contacts and calendar in the box and no good solution on the first page of results on Google — this is the kind of thing that keeps me from moving back from a Treo to a clamshell; MS Smartphone OS, Palm OS, or even Symbian OS would probably solve this issue

Link — full Samsung specs

Link — disclaimer (ok, I would link here if Blogger was working right now, but I can’t access the permalink right now)

Sprint Ambassador program phone received

Here’s my big, bold disclaimer:

I was selected for some reason to receive a free Samsung A-920 phone with 6 months of free Sprint Power Vision service as part of the Sprint Ambassador program.  Since I have wanted to try out the Power Vision network, I accepted both the phone and the service — Sprint lets me keep the phone free of charge after 6 months, but will terminate the service.

Here is what Sprint is looking for from me:

As a qualified participant, we will send you one Sprint Power Vision phone and provide you with six months of all-access service (at no charge). You’ll have access to the Sprint Music Store(SM) live TV broadcasts, gaming and more.  Yes, you will also have unlimited free calling and data service. It’s a pretty good deal and all we ask for in return is your candid feedback (you decide how much and how often).

Hey, if you’re a reader of this blog you know that I slant a lot of my writing towards technology, so I’m actually pretty excited to try out the service and let all of you know what I think.

I am already a Sprint subscriber, so I should be able to provide some comparisons between traditional Vision data service and Power Vision data services.

I’ll try to provide a link to this disclaimer on all of my posts about the phone and service. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ajax calculator

It’s much easier than opening an Excel spreadsheet and you don’t need to know Excel formulas to make it work.


Presenting can be scary

I remember a few years ago that I had to get up in front of a bunch of executives with a microphone in a strangely-shaped room and give a presentation; I got scared and started sweating and gave a horrible presentation.  There was really no need for me to present anything, but I had been told that I had to give it instead of deciding that it was the right thing to do.  As Seth Godin says:

The best presentation might be no presentation.

If you're going to bother to do something, you ought to do it very well indeed. Otherwise, don't. Don't show up. Don't waste your time (or mine.)

Seth’s got a great a plan on how to give an effective and casual presentation by just being yourself — 4 plain and simple steps that you can follow to give a great presentation with little stress.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Are shareholders and CEOs really aligned?

Mark Cuban says they aren’t:

. . . the concept of CEO and shareholders interest being in alignment because they both own stock is a big lie.  The CEO wants to hit the homerun of their career when they take the job, the shareholder just doesn't want to strike out with their life savings.

Don’t believe him?  Read his whole post, it’s pretty convincing.


Do not attempt

I saw an Old Navy advertisement today that featured some people dancing and holding hands; at the bottom of the screen was the language “Do Not Attempt.”  Perhaps I’m not supposed to dance or to dance barefoot or to hold hands or wear striped Old Navy shirt or maybe wear clothes.  To be honest, I’m not really sure what I’m not supposed to attempt and maybe Old Navy isn’t sure either.  My guess is that the legal department at Old Navy just told them to slap the language on every commercial because it’s easier and less risky.

What are you telling your customers not to attempt?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tech post dump

They’re piling up again:

  • Thumbstacks lets you create presentations online any serve them up via a static URL.  Presentations automatically display in Flash if it’s installed or revert to Ajax if there’s no Flash.  Originally found on TechCrunch.  Link
  • lala.  Think about swapping CDs that you want to hear (not that you’d rip the music off them, right?) with other people.  Hey, if the RIAA has a problem with it, they should have put unique serial numbers on CDs when they started pressing them however many years ago (of course, they never would have sued for their service had there been unique identifiers).  Originally found on TechCrunch.  Link
  • Check out the graph of iTunes Music Store downloads.  Pretty impressive.  More impressive would be to also graph the number of iPods sold and show a correlation average number of songs purchased per iPod.  Originally found on TUAW.  Link
  • Delibar lets you access your bookmarks by adding a small icon to your Finder in OSX.  Ok, where’s this functionality for Windows?  Originally found on TUAW.  Link
  • Solve the big pain in the ass of Office for OSX dumping your “Microsoft User Data” folder in your Documents folder by simply moving it to . . . Just go read the original post.  Link
  • Save Youtube videos.  Originally found on digg.  Link
  • Ajax Dictionary.
  • helps those that want to dump leases get out of them and those that want to get into shorter leases get into them.  Kind of cool if you’re into this sort of thing.

Back up Gmail using Outlook

Not that this is rocket science, but if you’re looking at wanting to back up your Gmail account, this is a pretty good primer.


Watch Seth Godin speak at Google

It’s definitely worth watching, so I’m trying to use the embedded Google Video on this post below; if it doesn’t work, I’m also putting in a link to the video.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Let's be honest -- sometimes you're paying for the service

We have All-Clad pots and pans.  Our 3qt saute pan developed some sort of problem around the rivets that hold the small handle to the side of the pan — to be honest, the problem looked like electrolysis to me due to the burned black area around each rivet that expanded when heat was applied.

My wife stopped in Williams-Sonoma, which is where we originally purchased the pots and pans.  Although Williams-Sonoma does not sell the pots and pans above MSRP, there are certainly other stores that do sell All-Clad at a discount.  In any event, she described the problem that we were having and the sales associate told her to bring in the pan.

It is important to note at this point that All-Clad has a lifetime warranty on the products, but in most situations you would have to return the pan to All-Clad to get warranty service or replacement.  My wife brought the pan and lid back in to Williams-Sonoma today and left with a replacement lid and pan new in the box.

My guess is that it might be a little bit of a pain in the ass for Williams-Sonoma to deal with the warranty claim on our behalf especially because they already provided us with a replacement pan and lid.  The interesting thing is that Williams-Sonoma only asked my wife for her name and zip code; they didn’t make her fill out the full background check form that other stores require for returns.  In effect, if Williams-Sonoma sends the pot in and All-Clad denies the claim, then Williams-Sonoma is out the cost of the replacement pan.

The moral of the story here is that sometimes the reason that you do business with companies like Williams-Sonoma and pay full retail price is because of the level of service that they provide.  It is experiences like this that will cause us to continue to do business with Williams-Sonoma and encourage others to do business with Williams-Sonoma.

Link — Williams-Sonoma

Link — All-Clad

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Pictures of the iPod A/V

There are lots of posts about this, but I was able to find the stable mirror below.  I have to say that these pictures look pretty real and I’d be damn excited to have one of these; I still have my fingers crossed for April 1st as a release date.

Link, Link, Link

The grand MySpace experiment begins

I did get the time this weekend, as promised, to set up a MySpace account.  I’ve already reached out to a few people that I know with MySpace accounts and invited them as friends.  The interesting thing to me is how quickly people on MySpace respond to friend requests as compared to LinkedIn and how quickly I’ve built a small network in very little time.

I’ve tried to play with a bunch of features:

  • Updating information in my profile
  • Posting to my blog (I just posted a link to this blog because I’m not going to start a 3rd blog on MySpace)
  • Added some music to My Profile (I like the band Stars Hide Fire — I think I first heard their song on one of those up and coming programs, but have not heard much from them since)

There’s a lot of stuff you can do with a lot of the profile features if you know some basic web coding, which has been interesting to try to see the results.  I’ve visited some profiles that look like crap because they obviously don’t know anything about webcoding and I’ve visited some profiles that look amazing because the owner knows what they are doing.

I still don’t really get it.  There are a lot of features that I use other services for combined in one site and I certainly understand the attraction in that.  My next steps are to interview some people that I know that are really into the whole MySpace thing to see how they use it — I’ll post what I find out.

Feel free to add me as a “Friend”, a link to my Profile is below.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

More Origami

So I posted that video of Origami a few days ago and they just updated The Origami Project site today.  Engadget is doing some digging and seems to think that Origami is the Ultra Mobile PC the Intel plan to unveil on March 7.  Further, Engadget states that if the Origami is indeed the UMPC, then it will be running Windows XP Tablet Edition.

I’ll be honest and say that if this thing can run Excel, I have a very legitimate business use for it simply from a form factor perspective and if the battery life is in the 4–8 hour range then I’ll stand in line to get one of the first one.

I do have to bring up this question: Isn’t Vista shipping in late 2006 or early 2007?  I just think it’s a little strange to invest in a device that runs an OS that will not be cutting edge in less than 1 year — it is my understanding that there is a Vista for Tablet PC.  In fact in searching about this, I ran into an article from TG Daily that states:

A second batch of UMPCs will follow in the second half of this year and come with Windows Vista preinstalled . . .

So maybe I won’t stand in line for one the first ones with XP and will hold out for Vista.

The biggest thing that no one seems to have an answer about is the price point.

Link & Link — Engadget

Link — TG Daily

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

MySpace is totally scary

Jeremy Wright posts that MySpace scares him and I certainly agree with him.  The scariest thing to me is that I read everything in Jeremy’s post and it all makes sense, but I still don’t get it and I’m not that far in age from the people that are actually using it on a daily basis.

Russell Beattie’s scared of MySpace too and has created his site, tweaked it, and generally played around with the service, but as he says now that he’s played around with the actual technology:

I guess the next step in understanding the whole scene is to find someone who uses it for real and see what they actually get out of it. What’s the really compelling features of MySpace?

If I have time this weekend, I’m going to set myself up on MySpace and see what I can figure out.  I actually know some people that use the service frequently, so I’m going to tap them to see if I can get some insight.

Link — Jeremy Wright

Link & Link — Russell Beattie

Spamming my driveway

Ok, really it’s like dumping trash in my driveway — a furniture store that I bought some items for signed me up for daily newspaper delivery for 6 months as a “gift.”  I did not ask for this “gift” and really do not recall opting in to this “gift” when I purchased the stuff from the furniture store.  Now the paper is coming every day and filling up my trashcan because neither my wife nor I really read the printed version of the newspaper except on Sundays.

We called the newspaper company and informed that that we did not ask for or want to receive the paper every day, but would be happy to simply receive it on Sundays.  Can you guess their response?  They responded that we would have to pay extra.