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Showing posts from October, 2008

The Ultimate Connected Device...through Sneakernet?

Let me start by saying that I love my Dash GPS . Billed as the world's first 2-way connected GPS, it offers me all I hoped for and more: real-time traffic, including crowdsourced data from other Dash users; the ability to send an address to the GPS from the web, so it's waiting for me...list goes on. Got an e-mail update from them yesterday. Hidden in it was this tidbit: GET READY: New maps & software coming soon We're putting the finishing touches on our Winter08 software release featuring updated maps of the United States and Canada plus a number of enhancements. Since this one is chock full of data, it will be sent to you on DVD. To request your free upgrade DVD, please enter your shipping address in the MyAccount area at MyDash . Um, let me make sure I understand. You make a GPS who's primary selling point is that it's always connected online, via WiFi or GPRS. It's called the "connected GPS." And the method you are using to send the Wint

Full of Hot Air

Sightseeing by Zeppelin comes to the Bay Area. And CNet's Tom Merritt shows us what it's like.

Sharing is NOT Social Networking

An article in today's Boston Globe caught my eye: Barnes & Noble announced they would launch a site for customers to track their interests and favorite authors, and "share information with Facebook and other social networks." The headline of said article? " Barnes & Noble goes social networking ." Intrigued, as the article was picked up by a few retail-centric newsletters I read, I signed up. The results were disappointing, to say the least: it's not much more than a "build my library" feature. The "social networking?" It consists of a "Share" button that allows you to post an article to Digg or Facebook. You're kidding, right? That's not social networking; that's ShareThis , the same type of widget I put on the end of my posts to allow you to share my thoughts with others. To be fair, I don't put the blame on this embarrassment on B&N; I put this squarely at the feet of the AP reporter, who's le

Gluttons for Punishment?

I was pretty excited about a new mashup of Google Maps, called Route You . In their own words: We produce and translate raw route-information towards digital structured data . We also create route-networks for GPS navigation systems. Our focus is mainly outdoor navigation for tourists, hikers, cyclists and motorbikers. During the outdoor activity, the user wants to be navigated via the most suitable and relaxing route , rather than the shortest or fastest. We produce these kind of routes and route-networks which allow route-planning and turn-by-turn navigation for cyclists, hikers, citytrippers, motorbikers... Ok, so the cool aspect of the site is that it would give routes that were custom catered to non-automobiles: walking, bikes, and scooters. Great! Just what I was looking for to avoid those freeway-addicted Google Maps. Easy enough: signed up, headed over, indicated I was looking for the fastest route via bike, plotted my start point and my finish point, and voila: a

Blogging from the iPhone?

Trying out a dedicated Blogger iPhone app. I'm hopeful, as it looks useful and yet another way to kill my laptop usage for day to day things. Of course, with a decided lack of copy and paste, it's already a handicap. One nice note: with this app, they released a version with reduced functionality for free, so that you can, in essence, try before you buy. This lack of trial capability for the vast majority of the iPhone apps is yet one more problem plaguing Apple's App Store. Hopefully, with the release of the Android-powered G1 this week, competition will spur improvement.

Pete: Electric Bike Test Pilot

My friend Pete, who writes the popular Treough blog, has a post up on his exclusive opportunity to test ride the new Pi Electric Bike . As a cycling commuter who hates hills, I am thrilled about the possibilities of this transportation option. Not to mention how damned cool it looks. Pete, congrats on being a breaking transportation reporter!

Drive Through Shopping?

I'm not sure what to make of this one. At my local Best Buy , I was greeted with a dedicated parking space and this sign to the left of the doors. I've seen similar signs at places like The Cheesecake Factory and Chili's, but not for a retail store before. What intrigues me is the smaller sign that asks you to call upon your arrival; this implies that there will be some special response in doing so. I can only imagine it will be them bringing your purchase to your car, sparing you from the elements, so you don't have to sully yourself in picking up that iPod. Anyone have any light to shed on this program?

Facebook Pizza

Word today of one of the potentially most momentous occasions of the evolution of the top social media platform. Yes, not only has it been proving more popular than porn, but you can now finally free yourself from the frustration of having to leave the walled garden of Facebook to order your cheese pie, as Pizza Hut has debuted a Facebook app that allows you to order your pizza directly from the Facebook environment. No word yet if you have to add the delivery driver as a friend first.

An Embarrassment Of Riches

Yesterday, as I sat in the House Of Blues in Las Vegas, I almost choked on my sandwich. The TV above the bar reported that my beloved Dallas Cowboys had two major developments : Adam "Pacman" Jones was suspended again by the NFL for a recent altercation in a men's room. That one, I had no issues with; Pacman, despite his once great talent, is a trouble magnet, and he simply should have known better than to get in any altercation, misunderstood or otherwise. Sure, it's unfortunate that the secondary lost a proven talent, and, combined with the injury to Terrence Newman, will be a tough loss. No, it was the second headline that got me: Roy Williams , one of Detroit's famous three straight top WR draft picks, was coming to the Cowboys, in return for multiple draft picks, including a first round pick next year. How does this make any sense? The Cowboys already have T.O., who is clearly one of the NFL's top receivers. He has recently been starting to pull his frust

Fleet Week's Parade Of Scraps?

Maybe it's just me, but when I head over to learn about San Francisco's Fleet Week , and I see a feature is a Parade of military Ships , I kinda expected to see Navy craft. Instead, I check out the history of one of the 4 ships, the Bonhomme Richard, and find this tidbit: Bon Homme Richard was ordered inactivated at the end of her 1970 deployment. She decommissioned in July 1971, becoming part of the Reserve Fleet at Bremerton, Washington. The ship was stricken from the Navy List in 1989 and was sold for scrapping February 4, 1992 . Did I miss something here? The ship was decommissioned 37 years ago, removed from the reserve fleet 19 years ago, and supposed to be torn into little pieces 16 years ago...and she is proudly headlining the ocean part of the strangely named "Fleet Week?" I missing something? Not the least of which is, how the hell is this ship still sailing, since it was supposed to be a proud example of military recycling by now? Hey, can we change

Bacon Lovers, Unite!

With my well-publicized fascination for the smoky goodness of pork pleasure, I just had to pass this latest bacon-related e-mail from the great folks at . Mmm...bacon... Sometimes there's just nothing better than a thick, smoky, dee-licious piece o' ba con to quell your carnivorous cravings. But in a city with so many options, pan fried and smoky, served up gourmet-style or fresh from the Bacon Dog Cart , opinions vary as to which strips reign supreme . If you’re a bacon traditionalist looking for the perfect accompaniment to your weekend brunch, join Matthew F in rhapsodizing about Abigail's , where the bacon is maple-glazed, "perfect, chewy and thick cut." Rachel A has come to realize that it really doesn't get much better than meat wrapped in meat , and for it all comes together with the bacon-wrapped fillet at Espetus Churrascaria . With "crispy bacon on the outside and a creamy, gooey burst of the sea inside," it's Anchor &am

Gettin' Social With It

Nice move by Virgin America to append the ways to reach them on common social media platforms on the base of their emails. I've seen this on the web, with the "Add This" functions (see this end of this post, for instance), but great move to include this type of alternative communication to e-mail. I'd love to see this trend expand, much like RSS with web pages, to allow automatic detection and aggregation of social network presences from an e-mail sender. Maybe an Outlook plugin? That's today's million dollar idea.

Airline Conformity

How is it that we have been able to book flights online for over a decade, but there is still a telltale ironic misspelling? I'd like to receive a confirmation , not a conformation. Reminds me of George Carlin's old airline speech riff, when he points out that he prefers to get IN the plane, instead of "on the plane." As he says, "Let Evel Knievel ride on the goddamned wing; I'm going inside!"

Understanding The Customer

ChainLove, a "Woot for bicyclists," had a deal I could not pass up today. I got in on it, pressed the buy button, and I was good. Got an order confirmation in moments. Less than 1 hour later, got the e-mail you see on the right. Their opening line is perfect, and reflected exactly my feeling. Nicely done, gentlemen. Holy crap indeed.

I Wanna See Starz...Oh, I Can?

Interesting news today, out of Netflix and Starz ( courtesy of CrunchGear ) that might actually make Netflix's streaming service more compelling. Netflix, as the name might imply, has always been focused on delivering content over the web. They launched their streaming service last year, which was greeted with a universal yawn, primarily because of the paucity of content. Earlier this year, they stepped up the game, announcing a $99 Roku box that allowed you to connect directly to your TV and watch streamed Netflix content on the big screen. Interesting, but same content issues. Today, they announced a two pronged approach, courtesy of Starz. First, Starz premium movies will now be available to stream on Netflix. This means that titles like the Pirates of the Carribean series, and other recent blockbusters, will now be available to watch on your computer or TV, instantly, at no additional costs. Second, and here's where it gets very interesting, they now will stream Starz'