Saturday, October 3, 2009

AT&T: You won't?

This is a series of ads run by AT&T in 1993 (notice that Tom Selleck is the announcer?). The campaign is somewhat remarkable is the technologies and products feature are ones we take for granted now and did not exist back then. Well except for the video payphones.

Among the technologies predicted that would not exist for at least another five to ten years later were wifi, tablet PCs, GoToMeeting/WebEx, Google Book Search, Google Health, GPS, FastTrak and on-demand digital cable.

The only thing they were off on was they didn't anticipate that cell phones would be ubiquitous as well as internet based videoconferencing features of applications such as Skype and GoogleTalk) so need for the video payphones.

As fun as these ads are however at least one critic, Cory Doctorow, wrote in 1996 how the ads display a sense of hubris by an old-world corportate behmoth like AT&T and that just envisioning internet-era analogues of existing technology signifies the company missing the point of the internet. Like Edison's idea of "opera by telephone" at the turn of the last century or the "big beautiful tomorrow" campaigns of the sixties its corporate claptrap that wasn't getting the true innovation going on in the workshops and garages of the tinkerers, if only government and big business would get out of the way.

The irony of this of course is that while AT&T "celebrated" new technologies and innovation, they pursue policy positions against concepts such as net neutrality trying to stifle new-world companies like Google (who has created a hell of lot more amazing things in 11 years than AT&T has in 125 years) rather than trying to compete in the marketplace.  Even in the video we see predictions of two applications developed not by Ma Bell but Google, Google Book Search and Google Health.

So how about AT&T just go back and fire up Mr. Bell's lab?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Panera Bread's Toilet Gender Discrimination

I sent the following email to Panera Bread's customer service department just a few moments ago:

I'm a regular customer at Panera and sometimes come to use the wifi to do work on my computer in your pleasant environment. When I sit for several hours I usually buy a meal a well as drinks and sometimes another meal or snack later.

Today I have done just that at your North Hollywood location when I ordered a meal. I asked to use the restroom and was told it was not working. I asked if i could use the women's restroom and was told no that was not allowed. I was told to go to the Coffee Bean next door which wasn't practical since I had ordered a meal and had my computer out which I wasn't about to either leave unattended nor pack with me to go to the Coffee Bean.

Therefore I am forced to finish my meal and then leave unable to finish my work and having a less than pleasurable experience at Panera. I will probably be back but this is a bit disappointing. I also find it discriminatory to provide restroom facilities to one gender but not another.

Stalker or Brilliant Marketing?

A guy meets a girl on a plane and for whatever reason doesn't get her digits. So he takes to posting up flyers around Venice a month later searching her out. Is he a crazy stalker OR is this perhaps a brilliant viral marketing campaign for Southwest Airlines? (Props to Sean Bonner at Metblogs)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Remember When The Phone Was Black and Plugged Into The Wall?

I decided it was time to make some changes to my mobile devices which include:

A Samsung Instinct smartphone - basically Sprint's imitation of the iPhone.
A Sprint aircard
AN Asus Eee PC
An iPod Touch

I figured that if I could upgrade my aircard to a Sprint Mifi, I could then downgrade my Instinct to a regular phone (for phone and texting only) and downgrade my plan.  With the always on wifi from the Mifi then my iPod touch would become the device for mail and other computing on the road.  However I would eventually need to upgrade to the new iPod Touch later this fall so that I could gain the camera and microphone the my iPod is currently lacking.

Another option I had considered was upgrading to the new BlackBerry Tour.  The bottom line was that I was growing tired of the Instinct and it wasn't the greatest phone for email. You can only watch so much Hannah Montana on Sprint TV.

The one issue however was that the Sprint MiFi card is $299.  I figured that not only would I be spending the $299 for that but at least that amount in a couple of months to upgrade the iPod. 

So I ruled out the mifi option considering that Sprint's 4G network, currently in testing in Baltimore, will be available in about a year or two and that at that time even better iPods will be out and I'll have had my aircard long enough to get the upgrade rebate to mifi at even faster speeds.

So I figured out the best option was to upgrade the Instinct to a Blackberry Curve.  I really don't need the international functionality of the Tour and the Curve does everything I need and much better than the Instinct. 

I was able to turn in my Instinct for $50, so with the rebate on the phone, it makes the BlackBerry free (before sales tax).  So my main investment - after sending off the sales tax on the entire value of the purchase (which I don't understand) to Arnold - was $35 for a car charger. 

Now you may be asking why not just switch to iPhone.  I would - but I hate AT&T. So there. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Random San Francisco street

The Chieftain Irish Pub in San Francisco.

Gas line in San Francisco

Leaving San Jose but first, Denny's.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Twitter Drama Reality Show

mayorsamAn ex-girlfriend calls to tell me her trouble with her current men. She was with one guy for years before she knew he was married. So...

mayorsamthen she hooks up with another guy she met and fell "in love" with and he moves in after a month or so of dating. this was "the one"....

mayorsamthen last night they have a fight and he disappers. So she tells the original guy she'd come back to him IF he promises to get divorced and

mayorsammarry her. In the meantime the new guy finally shows back up but she's kicking him out. Her rationale for dating losers: she's 33 and wants

mayorsamkids. She said "I was hoping something would happen with you (me)." I'm so not going there. I told her she needs to work on HERSELF, stop

mayorsamdating losers and she'll find what she's looking for when she least expects it. It's all about respecting yourself and never settling.

mayorsamBy the way I turned down her offer to be her backup valentine on Valentines' Day

mayorsamAnd I turned down her offer to go out tonight, though I don't have specific plans, I'm looking for a martini or a margarita or both...

mayorsamnot drama.  

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Want My Carbon Offsets!

Saturday night is something called Earth Hour where we are all encouraged to turn off the lights for an hour to apparently "make a statement."

I was invited to an Earth Hour party and today on my cell phone got an SMS via Evite that the party was cancelled.  If a Google search generates 7 grams of  CO2 how much does an Earth Hour party evite times 100 guests including invitation, responses, reminders and cancellation?

When I'm working, writing, on the computer, etc. - event at the office - I prefer minimal light.  At home while blogging I typically only see by the light of the computer monitor and turn on and off lights as I pass through rooms.  I bet doing that everyday saves a lot more energy than one Earth Hour party!

I also walk to work everday, generally driving my car at most two to three times a week.  I last filled up the tank on March 8th and I have about a third of a tank left (mainly due to two business related trips to the Westside/South Bay earlier in the month and a trip to Gardena for a memorial service last weekend). Even when I do drive, mostly on the weekends, it's almost always patronizing businesses in my zip code.

I also use cloth grocery bags.  I got started on that shopping at HOWS but my collection now includes Ralphs, Walgreens and Superior Produce Market. I keep enough of them in the car, buy extras when I need and always chastise the checkers "Yes I want you to use the cloth bag and not the plastic or paper."

So all of these things are helping the environment and saving me money, time, hassles, etc.

Don't make a "statement" by going to a party to be cool.  Make a statement by living your life.  Ed Begley, Jr. is one of the few environmental activists who actually practices what he preaches.

Which leads me to the conclusion - why must we have the government force us to do these things?

Who do I send my invoice for my carbon offsets to?

Bad Man Hates the Girl Scouts!

Girl Scout Cookie sales are down this year and blogger David Markland, also known as CEMETERY WHITE GUY (CWG),  isn't helping.  Markland, on his Twitter page, is directing folks to a website with recipes for making your own versions of the classic snacks, saying "Who needs the Girl Scouts?"

David Markland, why do you hate the Girl Scouts?

ABC7 reports some 40,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies remain unsold in Los Angeles.

Gift of Caring

Girl Scouts have been selling cookies as a fundraiser for nearly 90 years.  Profits earned from the sales of cookies fund an amazing number of programs that really develop the young girls into leaders.  Its the very best of volunteerism and civic involvement.  An interesting fact, is that though Girl Scout Cookie sales is a nationwide tradition, all of the profits earned locally stay locally with the regional council and the local troop.  The national Girl Scout organization earns it revenues from a license fee paid by the bakers contracted to manufacture the cookies.  Also, the cookies are trans-fat free. The Girl Scouts' website has a comprehensive FAQ about cookie sales.

If you want to help the Girl Scouts reach their goals and buy some more cookies, visit Valley of the Doll or Valley Doll's Twitter page for updates later. Or you can go to the Girl Scout Cookie Booth Locator by clicking here.

Here are a few selected booths operating the rest of the weekend (there are many, many more)
  • Ralphs at Ventura and Vineland in Studio City/North Hollywood until 6:00 p.m. tonight
  • Western Bagel at 19500 Plummer in Northridge until 5:00 p.m. tonight 
  • Trader Joe's at 9290 Culver in Culver City until 4:00 p.m. tonight
  • Bristol Farms at 606 Fair Oaks in South Pasadena from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. tonight
  • Studio City Farmers' Market at Ventura and Laurel Canyon from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Sunday
Perhaps Markland has an opportunity to redeem himself however, he has already offered to purchase some Samoas this weekend.  Maybe a few cases David?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Meghan McCain Hater Flap Can Kiss MY Fat Ass

"You know the difference between a dentist and a sadist don't you? Newer magazines."
-Jerry Seinfeld

Dr. Flap is at it again. No better than the shrewtastic Laura Ingraham decided the only way she could debate Meghan McCain's views on what the Republican Party needs to do by calling McCain "fat," our favorite blogging dentist can only do as well to call her a "moron."

Here's the rub. Flap must be breathing in too much of the twilight sleep gas. Meghan McCain is an intelligent writer who clearly makes the case why the Republicans must make radical changes to bring in young people, moderates, libertarian leaners and disaffected Democrats. The problem is old farts like Flap and bitter women like Ingraham just don't get it. And they are so at the peril of the party.

Kiss my fat ass Flap! (With all due respect because most of the time you're right but this time you're acting like a Mayor Sam dum dum.)