Archive for the ‘Good Product’ Category

It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 years. 1984 was not at all like 1984. And I remember it like yesterday. The Apple 1984 Superbowl Ad.

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spice rack

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Cookie ButterIntroducing Speculoos Cookie Butter, a deliciously unusual spread reminiscent of gingerbread and made with crushed biscuits. You can get it at Trader Joes, but I hear it’s almost impossible to get and therefore very expensive. A colleague at work gave it to me. Thanks!

Now I am addicted. Move over Nutella and designer-peanut-butter. Take one spoon of Cookie Butter, and be forever a slave.

Try it!

Something this delicious must be very, very bad for you. I dare not read the ingredients and nutrition facts.

Taking a spoonful of this mean product is what life is all about. It does not get any better than this.

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Today I attended a national government information technology conference. One of the sessions was a panel of directors in charge of implementing the websites and call centers for the exchanges which went live on October 1. The topic of the session was ACA – Open Enrollment Week One. The IT directors of three states shared their experiences and their challenges, getting the websites up and running on time and ready for the onslaught of the public.

We all know it didn’t go smoothly. We know some websites were down or crashed and some phone lines didn’t get answered. But we all know too that the exchanges were open for business and throngs of people lined up to find coverage.

When the audience asked about what the most rewarding part of their jobs was, one of the directors said that he kept hearing how grateful many customers were that they finally were able to sign up for coverage. They had been denied coverage in the past either for pre-existing conditions, or because the premiums were more than they could afford. All of a sudden the doors were open and they could sign up. Even though coverage would not even start until January, they were already ecstatic that it was coming – they just had to wait a few months.

Estimates are that there are 48 million Americans uninsured. I believe that some of these people really do not want insurance, but I also believe that those are the minority. The vast majority of those 48 million are eager and excited to be able to join the ranks of those of us who don’t even know what it’s like not to have insurance – like myself.


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I  have never seen one of these before today.

The Hampton Inns installed new perks for us road warriors.

Hampton Parking

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This is not a Mercedes commercial, but a movie made by students. It’s in German, but you don’t need to know the language. Pay particular attention to the shape in which the boy lies on the ground in the closing scene: a swastika.


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I recently read that in the early days of FedEx, during the late 1970s, executives in Manhattan corporate offices discovered that employees were using FedEx to deliver documents between floors of their buildings because it was faster and more reliable than the interoffice mail.

Imagine, a package gets picked up by the FedEx man on the 20th floor, he takes it down to the street to his truck, drives it to the airport, where it gets flown to Memphis that night, just to turn around to New York in the early morning, where it gets driven back to the building, and delivered to the 19th floor.

Overnight! The magic!

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iPad Salesman

If you understand German, you get the Spiel. Even if you don’t understand German, you’ll love this.

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The first time I used an automatic teller machine (ATM) was in November 1977. I stuck in my card and got $40 quick cash. $40 in 1977 bought four full tanks of gas, or two nice dinners out for two, with wine.

I remember hearing the wheels turn as it fed the two bills out the chute, wondering how it did that.

In 1986 I interviewed with Fujitsu in their division that builds ATMs. That’s when I saw for the first time the inner workings of a cash feeding mechanism. I was fascinated by all the bands, pulleys and flywheels, spinning rapidly and somehow counting banknotes accurately before feeding them out. I was amazed that it ever worked.

35 years have gone by since my first use of the ATM, almost 13,000 days. Getting cash once every two weeks, which is probably right for me, would mean I have used an ATM 500 times in my life. Usually I get $200 nowadays, and I always take out the bills, hold them up so the camera can see me, and I count them.

Never once have I not received the right amount. It is always right. Always. I have never met anyone that said that an ATM had cheated them out of money. Very occasionally they are out-of-order, and they don’t accept my card. So if they have trouble giving me money, they “know” it and shut themselves down.

Of all products I have ever used, the ATM is the only one that has never failed me.

Why don’t we build everything like ATMs?

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Fill up the tank in Bishop, California.

Head south on Hwy 395 toward San Diego.

Set the cruise control on 68 miles per hour.

Let it roll.

Arrive in San Diego 337 miles later with a gas mileage of 54.6 mpg and the tank still half-full.

Cool car!

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Google is getting too smart entirely. This is my Google screen today:

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Here is a blog I found that is perfect for finding a movie when it’s Friday night, you want to watch a movie, and you go through the mind-numbing listings on Blockbuster, Netflix or other pay-per-view services, trying to separate the jewels from the trash.

Go to Wonderful Cinema, pick off the next one you have not seen and GO!

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For the first time, ever, in all the years of flying, a few days ago I was on a flight that I wished was longer.

I fly a lot, some 100,000 miles a year, and I have over two million lifetime miles on American Airlines alone, so for me to make the statement above means something.

Last week, due to a death in the family, I had to book a flight to Germany on very short notice. I also had very little time. It would take 24 hours of travel, roughly, to get there. I scheduled myself for 48 hours at the destination, and of course 24 hours back. I knew I’d never get out of jet lag back and forth. With the very few flights open on such short notice, the pickings were slim. To mitigate the inevitable stress, I decided to use frequent flyer miles to book first class tickets with British Airways. When I tried to outright buy the tickets, they were about $9,000 each way. Oh boy. But for 62,500 flyer miles each way, there were first class seats available. Still, 62,500 miles would get two people on a round-trip to Hawaii with the miles-saver program. To put it into perspective, I used up two round-trip vacations to Hawaii for two for this one flight.

But it was worth it.

Both ways I had a layover at London Heathrow. On the way back from London to the U.S. we were in a Boeing 747. The first class section is in the very nose under the plane, with the cockpit right above it. You don’t even hear the engines there, just hissing of the air.

There are only about ten or twelve seats, and each passenger has a little personalized alcove with all the accouterments imaginable. Other than when I got up to wander about, I never saw another passenger. Two private windows with automatic shades that make the windows disappear on command.

British Airways 747 First Class Cabin

There was a full viewing screen, noise cancelling headsets, a full table, a private wardrobe and closet, a seat that stretches out to become a fully reclining lounge chair and mood lighting. A gourmet meal of several courses, complete with a wine list, is served be most attentive flight attendants. Unlike their American counterparts, who often call me honey or sweetheart, these British girls have their cute accent: “Would you like sugaa with that coffee, Siiiir?”

The flight from London to Chicago is scheduled to take 7 hours and 50 minutes. I was reading, dozing, eating, writing, thinking, drifting and feeling good. I looked up and the screen showed “Flight Time Remaining: 05:28 Hours” and I felt a twinge: “Can’t I stay here for another 10 hours? Can’t we just go on to Australia or Tokyo?”

British Airways service and attention to detail was remarkable. A classy airline I would fly with again without hesitation.

I definitely could have used a lot more time on this flight.

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