My wife, my father and I were discussing the pending big three auto bailout over dinner. The consensus was bankruptcy. Most other companies wouldn't get a bailout.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Personally I'm a big fan of TiVo and always root for their success. Tonight after watching an episode of the Family Guy, on the main TiVo screen I spied an ad for Bounty Paper towels. Being in advertising I had to click through and check it out. I expected a coupon and some content, but there was more.
I could buy a case of Bounty paper towels via Amazon through my TiVo. Amazing, truly enpowering an on-demand purchase of a consumer non-durable item. It would be interesting to see how many people order paper towels online and have them shipped due to this ad campaign. Maybe the strategy was to drive more people to the $1 coupon by giving the extreme option of mail ordering paper towels?
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Monday, September 08, 2008
A little over a year ago I wrote about my favorite Blackberry applications as well as bookmarks. With some recent additions I thought I'd update my post.
Applications (You'll need to download them)
WSJ Mobile Reader - This is a must have application on your Blackberry. You get constant access to the latest premium content as well as your own feed reader. I assume at some point they will start charging or require an online subscription, but for now DOWNLOAD it.
Ramble (AIM Client) - Found this looking for an AIM client that doesn't use SMS to send and receive instant messages. It's offered by SRA and there is no charge.
Google Talk - If you have a Gmail account, you're already aware of Google Talk. The nice feature is that it does not use SMS to send and receive messages. It uses the data connection and with an unlimited data plan you're covered.
Google Maps - This installs on your BlackBerry and gives you access to normal maps, satellite, as well as traffic. You can search for business and get directions. It's super helpful and just like Google Talk, it's free and piggybacks on your data plan. Now leverages GPS data from the phone or triangulates location based on cell towers.
Google Gmail - This is an installed application which gives you quite a bit of functionality to read and action upon your Gmail.
Amtrak - Essential if you travel the Northeast corridor. For some reason the train crew often won't update you on your arrival time. It appears that only the mobile version of the site allows you to check your arrival times.
FlyFAA Plain Text - Great way to find out if there are weather delays on your flights.
HopStop - Essential for navigating the subways in NYC and other major cities.
MTA - If you ride on Metro-North or Long Island Railroad (LIRR) they have a great site you can check the schedule.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
We went to see Yellowman tonight, he rocked it out.
About to leave and I run into an old high school buddy who tells us not to leave, Jimmy Buffet is about to play a set. Buffet rocked out No Woman No Cry and a bunch of other songs.
Check out the photos - unreal!
Friday, August 22, 2008
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Quick update on my beekeeping adventure.
My first hive is doing really well (right hive in the picture above), I've a honey super on top along with a queen excluder. The bees have just started to build out the comb and are storing nectar. I took a few pictures along with a short video.
The second and third hive are not as strong as the first, which has a month head start. Hopefully they'll catch up as the new bees start to hatch.
Notice the propolis they're applying to the inner hive top.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Thought I'd share a conversation I overheard on my commute earlier this week.
Two people were chatting, one says, "there was a two for five dollar special on Apple Jacks at the drug store, I'm having that for dinner."
The other responds, "that's unhealthy."
"It's got apples and cinnamon."
With shock, the other responds, "it's filled with sugar."
"The cinnamon counteracts the sugar."
I'm a supplement person, so I take a few horse pills a day of vitamins. There is marketing materials out there about cinnamon helping control blood sugar. I haven't researched it, but I've read about it.
So I'm shocked at the, "it's got apples and cinnamon" comment, but it gets better.
The conversation turns to diabetes and blood sugar along with how doctors potentially get incentives to push certain drugs.
Interesting how advertising is digested.
Anyway it's the weekend, off to check on the other queen bee.
Monday, June 02, 2008
Saturday, May 31, 2008
My two three pound boxes of bees were installed first thing Friday morning. Diana was nice enough to film the fun. Enjoy!
Now onto installing the first box of bees.
Installing the second box of bees
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I'm having better luck with my new bee supplier as I actually received a heads up that they shipped today. With any luck they'll show up on Friday or Saturday and I'll be able to install them quickly. Expect more video as I now have extra protective gear for Diana.
I came across this Freakanomics post on the NYTimes.com in Google Reader. Interesting concept for screening newly hired and trained customer service representatives level of dedication.
Click the title for the post.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Learned three new things this morning.
First, if you leave your car window open it's possible for a bird to get inside and proceed to defecate all over your steering wheel and dashboard as it thinks it's trapped.
Second, if you move a beehive greater than three feet, but fewer than three miles some of the bees will return to the old location.
Third, if you assemble six beehive bodies and haven't swung a hammer in a while you'll have a really sore shoulder.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I just finished reading a special report in Fast Company on China and their moves into Sub-Sahara Africa. Scary and fascinating article at the same time.
The last paragraph was great,
"We buy China's junk, they buy our bonds, our real estate, even our corporations; they expand into Africa with our money, enabling them to grow and sell us more junk. It's a spiderweb, a matrix-and how it spins out is a scary as it is unclear. But one thing is certain: We're all part of the same ugly scramble."Take some time and read the article here.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
After some deep thought, I've come to the conclusion that one hive will yield minimal honey compared to 3. Thus I've ordered two more 3 pound boxes of bees and will be setting up two more hives in a week or so.
More video to come
Friday, May 09, 2008
You may have heard me mention that the queen cage seemed to be missing the sugar plug in the earlier video. I reached my bee supplier and found out that I should remove the cork and stick a small mini-marshmallow into the hole. The other bees will then eat through it and release the queen bee. I'll be doing that tomorrow, stay tuned same bee time, same bee channel.
In this video you can take a peak inside the hive.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
I'm not going to Vegas since it might not be a great idea to install the bees in the middle of the night. Just cooked up some sugar water to feed them and will install tomorrow morning. The three pound box of bees is in our bedroom, I'm game for sleeping in there, Diana is not. The buzzing is soothing.
Will find out if I'm allergic to bee stings tomorrow morning. I'll try to get this on video.
...with no notice.
My bee supplier told me that they would call the day my package bees were shipped. This morning on my way to the airport for a day trip to Dulles, the post office calls to let me know the bees have arrived. Putting aside the shock, plan B is in action.
1. Family member to pick up the bees this morning.
2. Drive out to the Hamptons tonight at 7pm
3. Install the bees with flashlights at 9pm
4. Drive back to Westchester
5. Fly to Las Vegas 8am Friday morning.
This should be fun.
Pictures to follow
Monday, April 28, 2008
This weekend working out I came across an article in Businessweek about the environmental benefits if we put dormant coins back into circulation. BW had sourced a press release from Coinstar, the makers of those coin counting machines in your local grocery store.
The environmental savings are quite impressive considering it would put on average $90 into your pocket. Of course you could visit your nearest Coinstar machine or visit a bank that offers free change counting, for example Commerce Online.
One other interesting tidbit is that it costs the U.S. Mint 1.3 cents to make a penny and 7.7 cents to make a nickel.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I'm still waiting for the bees to arrive. Apparently the supplier hasn't received their shipment thus my 3 pounds of bees haven't shipped. It's probably a good thing since there aren't too many plants starting to blossom in East Hampton.
Monday, April 07, 2008
My beehive starter kit arrived today via UPS: included are the frames, hives, smoker, gloves, hive tool, etc. Now I just need for the live bees to be delivered later this week or early next week. I'm sure the post office in East Hampton will be looking forward to my package.
I'll be blogging about my experience as a first time beekeeper. During my childhood my father kept many hives as I remember harvesting the honey. Looking forward to producing some honey.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Saturday, April 05, 2008
No waiting behind someone who has five gallons of hand lotion in their bag and is upset that they have to throw it out. Clear travelers are professional travelers and know the tricks.
I don't know the economics behind an install, but just from a PR/advertising perspective Las Vegas would be ideal. It's the conference center of the US and the sheer volume of sales people visiting for conferences would be great free advertising. Imagine waiting in the sometimes insanely long lines and you see someone fly by in the Clear line.
Get ready for the sign-ups.
Maybe put a sign-up booth inside the secured area and sign people up as they come through.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Over two years ago my Black Honda Element was vandalized at my wife's place of work. I've talked to a few auto body repair places to repaint the car. Quotes ranged from $2,000 to $4,000.
Not an option for a $22,000 Element.
Not an option for me to shell out for a vandal's handy work.
Last summer I had a thought, why not call a car wrapping company? Wrap the car with an advertisement or just black wrapping.
I stopped by Sign Language last summer and spoke with the owner, Jack. He thought it was possible and would run around $200. Much better deal than a new paint job and the wrapping material should last at least 5 years.
Finally I motivated and brought the Element in today to have it wrapped. An hour later, you can hardly notice the black wrapping. Diana couldn't tell the difference. Diana and I no longer drive in a card with "bitch" scratchitti on three sides.
If you have a scratchitti car this is a cost effective way of covering up.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Just getting ready to board the plane home from SFO after a few days in Mountain View. I had a great time catching up with old friends from Advertising.com as well as meeting new AOL colleagues.
I planned on flying into San Jose which required a connection at LAX, shockingly the connecting flight was canceled. Instead I flew to SFO where I picked up my rental car.
A rental Prius.
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I had trouble getting the car to move. A quick look in the manual fixed that and I was on my way. Having never driven a hybrid before it was certainly interesting to not hear an engine running. A few time the combustion engine did turn on and it jolted the car a bit. I guess I could buy one, it had some good acceleration.
Now as I write this I'm listening to a traveler ask the counter person if he can change the side of the plane he's sitting on. Apparently he only sleeps on his right side and he's on the wrong side.
Good luck with that one!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
As I mentioned in a previous posting, I'm getting ready to restore all of the steel casement windows in our apartment. The building is from the 1930s and I'm not sure how long the current paint and glazing has been there. (pictures to come)
One of my neighbors has redone all of her windows and she'll be sharing some of her secrets, but I'm also doing some research.
First, who actually specializes in fixing these types of windows:
Seekircher Steel Window Repair - Peekskill, NY - they restore and repair old windows. Here's an article in the New York Times about John Seekircher.
Re-view - Kansas City, MO - has a nice step-by-step instruction of how they restore steel windows.
J Sussman - Jamaica, NY - they craft custom steel windows.
Second, what how-to articles are out there:
ThisOldHouseWeb - Someone writes in asking how to fix cold and drafty steel casements.
ThisOldHouseWeb - A detailed article describing the restoration process.
The Steel Window Institute - Who's who of steel window manufacturers
Third, the pictures:
Here's a standard steel casement window from the 1930s.
You'll notice here that the outside glazing on the glass is worn away and missing a protective coat of paint.
Here you can see rust forming on the inside of the window as well as it not closing completely.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
I keep an eye on my site analytics and consistently I see one post showing up via Google organic search. It's my closing post on my Baltimore row house staircase replacement. You can read it here.
The post ranks on the first page of Google results for "replacing stairs" and "replacing staircase." My next home improvement project is to restore our steel casement windows throughout our apartment. I'm planning on using a combination of video, pictures, and text to detail the project.
I took the first step today and more detail will be coming.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Senator McCain and DeMint are offering an amendment to the 2009 budget resolution that would impose a year long moratorium on congressional earmarks.
Visit the Citizens Against Government Waste website and easily send emails to your Senators telling them to support the amendment. Get Washington focused on fixing real problems instead of how to hide pork spending for each state.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
My wife and I purchased an apartment late last year in a 70+ year old building. We’re on the 5th floor, the top and we’ve noticed the showers don’t get hot enough. We’re having work done on one bathroom, so since January 1st we’ve been showering in the other bathroom where the water has never gotten warm enough. We essentially have a cold shower every time. The other shower is slightly warmer.
I asked the contractor and the superintendent what the problem could be and they said it was the mixer value jets. Apparently the old pipes have debris that clogs the jets thus the hot water side must be clogged. New valves have bigger jets. My sink hot water is scalding, it must be the jets.
Seems reasonable, so it was more cold showers until our other bathroom is renovated and we get a new water valve. A cold shower can be refreshing during the summer, but day after day in the winter is tough. I shave in the shower and the lack of hot water seriously impacts the closeness.
This past Friday night as we sat watching TV, I started to think about that shower valve in
I booted up my laptop, checked the valve for make and model and proceeded to search. Sure enough there was a hot water mixer valve in this model. Next step was to disassemble it. Sure enough I needed a hex key, I didn’t have one. I'd have to wait until Saturday morning when the local hardware store opens.
I purchased the set, headed home and off with the handle. Viola! The hot water setting was not maxed out. All this time, all those cold showers, it was a simple Internet search away.
With the hot water setting cranked up to the max, I re-installed the handle. It was tough going, the screw was sticking. Nothing a daub of dishwasher soap can’t fix though, smooth installation.
Handle back on, shower on, hot shower is a go!
So where is this post going? Is there a natural gas leak in our apartment as I write this?
This story is applicable to business.
Everyday we do things a certain way because we assume that’s the best way. We get used to the cold shower, we accept it. We adapt our bathing process; we optimize our soap up time to ensure minimum time under the shower head.
In business everyday people doing things the same way they did them the previous day. Even if something is wrong, many times the root cause isn’t sought out. Maybe it takes research, maybe investment in a tool? Time surely you could have better spent running around after the shower to dry yourself and warm-up.
How often do we go back and double check our key assumptions? Check our processes? Challenge the status quo?
Maybe the person who created them was a madman or madwoman?
Maybe it was somebody who liked cold showers?You'll never know until you check.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I'm working on a letter in Google Docs this morning and I look to save the file.
Yes, I know it automatically saves, but I like to double check.
They moved the save button.
Now it looks like the Word save button and is situated in a similar location.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I’ve been a bad blogger, not posting as often as I should. More promises of getting back into it, well now it’s time to deliver.
On my way to
We hit JFK after a long trip down
No bags to check, only one Clear pass, long line at Terminal 7 security. We separate, I take the carry-ons, luckily the Clear attendant told me to get my wife and she’d bring her through as a courtesy.
Diana’s signing up tomorrow for her own Clear pass.
After scanning my finger we’re escorted to the front of the security line with many frowns of disappointed people in line. If I was Clear I would have the attendants wearing a shirt explaining the cost and benefits.
Walking billboards with a targeted audience.
We’re sitting on the plane waiting to buy some food, we look to our in-flight magazine for the menu. Sure enough Diana’s magazine is missing the page. It’s been ripped out. I check mine, more of the same.
Must be someone from a competitive airline trying to slow down the in-flight meal service. Or maybe somebody is being passive aggressive because due to this being the absolute last row on the plane.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
It has almost been a month since my last post. Personally we are living in a bit of chaos with some major home renovations going on right now. My wife and I feel like we are living in one of those shows on TV about pack rats since we have everything pilled up in a few rooms. Hopefully we'll be finished in a few weeks and spread back out over the apartment.
I was also elected to the board of our co-op and have webified us with a domain name as well as setting us up on Google Apps. More to come on my experiences with getting us fully up and running.
Posted by The Editor at 10:07 AM