A Starbucks Conundrum

Something I have noted in my relatively regular visits to Starbucks for my morning dose of goodness-in-a-cup is the nearly overwhelming mispronunciation of the 20oz drink option. As you may or may not be aware, this size designation is a venti, which actually means “20”. We can also see that the pronunciation, as expected, rhymes with tee or bee, but the baristas who serve me inevitably repeat my drink order as a vente instead. I was bothered by this for a while – up until the cleverly disguised sarcasm began to sink in. Wittingly or not, each of these baristas has just confirmed that I indeed had paid for a “wait” with cream, allowing them to take as much time as needed to prepare – since that is what I asked for after all. Kudos to you, Starbucks, for coming up with a naming convention that, however pronounced, will make me happily vente for my venti.

Seahawks, Packers and Refs: Oh, My!

I was one of the stunned Seahawks fans left in a very uncomfortable position after Monday night’s contested win against the Green Bay Packers – excited over the win but with a sour taste over how it went down. If you’re living under a rock somewhere and haven’t heard about the controversy, or if you simply care absolutely nothing for football and are reading this out of sheer boredom, let’s review the tension in the league building up to this climactic altercation.

Back in August the NFL refs union began negotiating with the NFL once again, but as everyone in the football world can tell you, it was too little, too late. The season began with the NFL bringing in inexperienced replacement refs who have been, shall we say, struggling to meet the challenge and call clean games – though in their defense, I’m sure they’re doing the best job they can under the circumstances. Suffice to say that there has been tremendous pressure poured out on these refs, and they have been the focal point of mounting tensions as questionable calls have been piling up during these first few weeks of the season.
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Customer Service is STILL Important

In this day in age, with all the technological advancements from entertainment to dining, many companies seem to lose track of the simple fact that customer service is still important. I know first hand how many companies have (or are) letting the simple principle of “the customer is always right” be slowly outshone by the new principle of “the customer is privileged to do business here.” I worked retail for many years in different venues from shoes to computers, and I saw this slip first-hand when I compared the divergence between what was taught during training and to what standard management expected on the sales floor. Thankfully I now work for a company that still values the customer above all, and though I’m no longer in sales, I have had opportunity to sit with customer service for an entire day and watch first-hand how things are handled – and it makes me proud to work here.
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On Blogging and Google Plus

Blogging and Google Plus (hereafter referred to as Google+) may not be as mutually exclusive as one might initially think. Not only was it Google+ that brought me back to my blog after a six month hiatus, but the more technical contacts I make on Plus, the more intuitive it becomes to use a blog in conjunction with Google+ to have the most reach. For those of you still reading, let me outline the past week of relevant activities.
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Did I Really Read That Right?

Prius Crop

This Prius had a rather interesting license plate

So, my wife and I decided to go out for a nice lunch to celebrate our anniversary today, and we were quite shocked by the license plate we observed outside our restaurant of choice. Yes, I know we are in Washington state and it sometimes seems as if every other car you pass is a hybrid, but that doesn’t give you the right to go flaunting what it allows you to do while driving, does it? I mean, seriously. I must admit, while this license plate would be enough to make my children chortle if seen on any car, the fact it was positioned on a Prius raised the level of intelligence a tad — well, at least that’s the line I used to try and convince my wife why I was laughing.
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Greet the New Year With a Smile!

Show Your Happy Face

My daughter does indeed show her happy face!

If there is anything we can learn from our children, it is that perspective makes a world of difference. Isn’t it amazing how different a given situation can appear between observing it from the outside and actually experiencing it? This concept has taken on a new level of application in our household with the adoption of our youngest child’s “Happy Face”.

This representation of jubilation is quite accurately portrayed in the picture above, but it typically comes only after a prompting of, “Where is your Happy Face?” Interestingly enough, the perspective of which I speak is well suited to this very expression of joy. You see, as a two year old, she has not yet come to grips with the fact that simply announcing her happiness or pasting a smile on her face does not convince mom and dad that she is indeed happy.
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Working Remotely: Pros and Cons

One of the most amazing things in the history of technology must be the ability of working remotely. Take a moment and consider what the ramifications of this step in employment progress. To anyone who has worked a regular office job for any length of time, the enticement of being able to work from home is quite alluring. However, having some moderate experience with this phenomenon myself, I realize that beneath the shiny facade, all is not ponies and rainbows.

For those that are not aware, let me first quickly share my experience with you. Having worked on various freelance and contract projects for about three years, I began my professional career as a lead web developer in the educational realm where I never even considered working remotely as an option. Simply adjusting to the life of the desk dweller was enough to keep me busy for the three years I was there.
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Support For Multi-Panel Display?

In gaming, the challenge always seems to be bigger, bolder and badder when it comes to graphics, but why hasn’t anyone really tapped the PC market with full multi-panel display support? This question came to mind again today when I saw this amazing 43″ curved display. I can only imagine the satisfaction of playing a flight simulator or racing game with two of these bad boys side by side providing a true panoramic display.
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‘Asteriods’ to Hit the Big Screen? Really???

This is one of those articles to which I am pointed that raises a number of very mixed thoughts and emotions within me. I’m not sure whether to be excited or appalled. To be perfectly honest, my initial thought on the matter was something akin to, “Sweet! Finally, someone is paying homage to one of the classics in this over saturated video game/comic book character movie run!” However, since that initial thought, the pendulum of my thoughts swung to the other extreme before finally settling to a somewhat acceptable happy medium.

Let’s consider the pros and cons for a moment, shall we? The biggest con is that there is absolutely no plot or story line to the game AT ALL. I mean, how often is Hollywood actually left with a completely wide open slate, given a drawing board as empty as space (quite literally) and actually come up with a respectable story? True, it happens from time to time with incredible writers (Spielberg and Lucas come to mind), but of all the space movies out there, those are by far the exceptions.
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The Importance of a First Impression in Web

We all have heard the saying that You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and just as much as in our personal relationships, the brutal force of this statement shows itself true in the web world as well. I cannot count the number of times I have visited a website to glean information about a particular topic only to be immediately bombarded with any number of issues: from broken links to JavaScript errors, layout issues due to lack of attention given to cross browser compatibility, and even, in some cases, the dreaded 404 error right from the home page. Now, none of these issues is a deal breaker to me; I mean, come on, we’re all human, right?

Well, what if that website happens to be for a company or product that is in a technology industry to some varying degree? Does that make a difference? Based on some feelers I’ve put out over the years both with clients and customers for many of the projects of which I have been part, this can indeed make all the difference in the world. Whether or not your organization or product is web related, the average user hints at the fact that, if your content is perceived to be technology based in any form, these small faux pas mentioned above take on an impact of much greater magnitude.
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