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Showing posts from September, 2006

Farewell to RT

What brought me to San Francisco? What started my fascination with gadgets? What seduced me into the perfect marriage of traditional retailing and online business? What put me on the forefront of e-commerce? It's many things, sure, but it comes down to one man. Richard Thalheimer. If you have not yet heard, Richard, the founder and CEO of The Sharper Image, was ousted this week, after a serious decline in the company's fortunes. He remains on the board, but the company he has been, and always will be identified with, is no longer his to run. This happened earlier this week, and yes, I knew the minute it happened. You would have had to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know it was coming. I've been busy, sure, but I also was thinking about how I felt about it, before I wrote it. It's complicated. So, bear with me. If you don’t know, I spent a decade working for TSI. I started at the bottom rung, literally: a stock boy, in a retail store in Boston, in the 1980's. Sharpe

Will the Pupil eclipse the Master?

I don't know about you, but I think Stephen Colbert is even getting more coverage and fandom than his progenitor, The Daily Show, esepcially on the web. Need proof? How about the launch of The Colbert Report - Your Daily Dose of Colbert Videos, a YouTube-like collection of all of Colbert's shows, complete with new episodes the day after the show runs. Ask me, and this is the future of the evolution of TV and the Web. In a few years, when the XBox/Mac Mini/Windows Media Center evolution is complete, and the living room is conquered by the computer, imagine your own on-demand channels like this, of all shows. Want a competitor to cable and satellite? Start a service that aggregates these shows in just this fashion, and spend the next 2 years perfecting your ad embedding technology: in 10 years, cable will look as quaint as over-the-air broadcast looks today, and a new monopoly will be born. And Truthiness shall lead the way.

Heard your personal greeting from me on my VM?

Some of you call me on my cell. As you know, I am frequently unavailable (meetings, work, etc.), and I feel bad that I can't talk more often. However, thanks to a free service, YouMail, you can all now have a personal greeting from me on my voicemail. Yes, a greeting for each of you. It's actually pretty easy to set up, and cool. It involves changing your voicemail from the one your cell provider gives you (which everyone just loves the flexibility of) to YouMail's service. Why? Here's some of what you get: - Listen to your messages on the phone or on the web - Get a text message whenever someone leaves you a voicemail, with who the voicemail is from - Ability to record personal greetings for any specific person who calls you. No limit on how many! Record from your phone or through your computer. - My favorite: ability to play a specific message to certain callers...and not let them leave a voicemail. Because as much as I love telemarketers and recruiters, I'm even

Fōnpods: Podcasts On Demand!

Looking to start listening to podcasts, but don't want to invest in the time or cost with an iPod like solution? Looks like Fōnpods: Podcasts On Demand is offering any podcast, over your phone. Here's what you do: sign up, select the podcasts from their directory (or upload the RSS URL of your favorites), and that's it. To listen, just dial 712-432-3030. Sure, your phone charges still apply, but if you have a national plan with a lot of minutes, it sure is handy. For me, this is a great alternative when I rent a car: I can just pop the headset on, and listen as I drive through a city, without using the various contraptions to try to get my Palm to play through the car stereo. I've just signed up; I'll tell you how it goes! Oh... did I mention it's FREE?

The Madden Curse Continues

Yeah, I love Madden football, but the curse is a real thing: feature an athelete on the cover, and watch that player tank, be injured, or suffer the same season. Worse than the Sports Illustrated cover curse. Think I'm kidding? Here's the latest: it only took 3 weeks but the Madden curse strikes again this year after the Seahawks announced that Shaun Alexander is out indefinetly with a broken foot. read more  |  digg story

The Holy Grail of Synchronization?

Is it here? Finally? The mighty quest reached it's end? I can't say for sure, but it looks possible, thanks to The Holy Grail of Synchronization: How to synchronize Microsoft Outlook (multiple locations), Google Calendar, Gmail, iPod, and mobile phone with Funambol / ScheduleWorld. « //engtech

Yar! A mighty fond farewell to Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Ahoy, mateys...another swashbucklin' International Talk Like A Pirate day has passed. But, not before Pirate-speakin' Google penned this paen on how they not be celebratin' no Pirate day. Yar!

Wifi in aiports

I'm laying my money down: in 5 years, 50% of US airports will provide free WiFi, courtesy of Google. In the meantime, here's a handy guide to the WiFi services and their costs in all major US airports, today.

Stephen Colbert and The Sports Guy

How did I ever miss this? Not only has The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, acquisced to his wife (whom he calls "The Sports Gal") by making up for his complete inaccessibility in football season by having her pen part of his column (with no editing allowed), but he has also been making the rounds on his book. See, his book, Now I Can Die In Peace , about the Red Sox winning the World Series, is now in paperback, so he's out pimping it. But even better...combining The Sports Guy and Stephen Colbert! Now that's video you have to see!

Traveling and Gadgets

On my trip this week, I found it interesting that my Gadgets and need for information have become so pervasive, yet I only notice just how dependent I am on them in those few moments at takeoff and landing that I am utterly deprived of them. For instance, here was my trip: Drove to San Jose in my car. Talked on my Bluetooth headset and Sony Ericsson phone for part of the trip; other times, I was listening to podcasts on my Palm TX. At the airport, I parked, and connected with my Palm's browser, over my phone's GPRS connection, via Bluetooth, to to get my boarding pass, from the parking lot. At the airport, got my email over the same connection on my Palm. Boarded the plane, and read the San Francisco Chronicle on my Palm that I had downloaded that morning, thanks to Sunrise XP and Plucker . The dreaded "turn off anything with an on/off switch" announcement. Nothing to do but read the damned SkyMall catalog. 10K feet! Out comes the laptop , so

V for Vendetta

If you have not seen it, do so. It is another Wachowski masterpiece. Just listen and tell me you don't feel the same.

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?

I know I am. It's been a loooong spring and summer. Technically, the season kicked off already, with the defending champion Steelers doing their best to defend their title. Personally, I'm thinking...Dallas? ;-) Check out this great Google Calendar of the 2006 schedule!

May I see your ID? NO.

In my job, I fly more than I like. Heck, next week I'm on four flights in 2 days. As the government attempts to help keep us safer when we fly, the secuirty precautions are gradually resembling the very horrors we were warned about of our enemies in the Cold War. One man decided to chip a hole in this suffocation, and stand up for the principles this country was built on. And you know what? He proved it all a tissue of lies. Remember...remember...the 5th of November.

Dining Review - Slanted Door

There is simply no better example of the quintessential San Francisco dining experience than Slanted Door. Named one of the Top 100 restaurants in the US, I was lucky enough to be introduced to this gem years ago, and I have been an addict ever since. They have moved several times, but their current location in the Ferry Building looks to be the last move. While I have eaten there on many wonderful occasions, I was lucky to head back there this last week, taking a client who was in from out of town. It occurred to me I never shared the amazing experience of a Slanted Door dinner with you! Slanted Door is Vietnamese, but has evolved into something uniquely San Francisco. First, a word of warning: don’t try to have dinner here without reservations. It just can’t be done unless you come very early, or eat very late. Second, if you ignored my first words of advice, don’t be afraid of the bar: it's a full menu, and sometimes the service is even better, as well as more intimate dining.


In case you are not aware, I'm a big fan of Widgets. What are Widgets? Essentially, small, single purpose elements that display key information in a very small real estate. For instance, on a typical desk, the clock would be considered a Widget. In the computer world, widgets can be SO much more. Arlo Rose started the whole thing with Konfabulator, originally a Mac app; so successful, Apple stole it for their Dashboard. Yahoo saw the potential, and bought Konfabulator, renaming it as Yahoo Widget Engine. Now Microsoft is coming out with Gadgets for Windows Vista. Widgets are everywhere, and they keep coming! I use Yahoo Widget Engine for my home computer; in fact, my second monitor is pretty much just devoted to Widgets. Examples: Doppler Radar weather info for the Bay Area and the Boston Area A rotating view of various webcams in Venice, Italy Up to the moment hot deals from WiredDeals At work, I use Google Desktop for my Widgets. Not nearly as comprehensive as YWE, but I need

San Diego: Last Day

This was our last day in San Diego, so we decided to take it a little easier. Breakfast in our suite, then off to nearby Balboa Park for a day of exploration. First up, a trip to the world famous San Diego Zoo. We went here a while back, and had a great time, but were exhausted. This time, we did it right: a tour of the amazingly large park by double decker bus. Sure, it was an incredibly long wait for the bus, and they managed to only stop for a maximum of 5 seconds at any exhibit, but with a park this large, that varies by hundreds of feet up and down, it's really the only way to get a sense of the size. After viewing the giraffes (including the baby one; cute!), we headed to a long skyborne ride with their gondola, giving us views of the whole park, and even the disconcerting sight of seemingly being higher than the approaching airliners. A relaxing ride later, as well as a visit to the hummingbird aviary (no hummingbirds to be seen, of course), and we were done with the Zoo. Ne