Archive for August, 2008

August 23, 2008
Filed Under (Noted in passing) by transom

One of the touted features of Amazon is its recommendation engine. I have to admit to loving Amazon (some months too much!) even when I pay sales tax on every purchase. But I find the recommendation strangely useless.

If you purchase often, you end up spending more time weeding the engine than shopping from it. For example, I tried some coffee beans from Amazon (they were on-sale and I was out – so why not). Now my recommendation engine lists bag after bag of coffee beans – just because I ordered a bag of coffee beans.

It would seem smarter for Amazon to ask me if I liked the coffee and would like to re-order (something that is surprisingly difficult to do on Amazon – you can subscribe, but re-ordering is hard.)

And while we are talking grocery shopping on Amazon – why can’t I get a listing by cost per unit of measure. For commodities – it would make it easy to spot a bargain. Try comparing coffee prices on Amazon – there have to be over 40 different quantity combinations and no easy way to compare the price per oz.

I love Amazon. I just don’t love how hard it is to love Amazon.

August 17, 2008
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by transom

I can’t let the death of my cat go by without remarking on it (but there is nothing to see here – move along!) This is for me, not general consumption.

One half of my personal comedy team – Bob & Ray – died this week. Apparently he had been suffering from hyperthyroidism and by the time the symptoms caused a trip to the vet, the end was near. Despite the vet’s best efforts, he just slide downhill very quickly.

I adopted Bob & Ray from the Lancaster PA Humane shelter over 12 years ago and we have survived many the adventure including a cross-country airplane trip. Ray was my buddy. He was everybody’s buddy – he never met anyone he wouldn’t try to coax some attention out of – and all of us were suckers for him. He even loved the mice that found their way inside from the woods. I don’t think he ever killed one (although a few died of exhaustion) – he just played with them until I could coax the mouse into safer place for extraction to the outside.

Ray was amazingly brave – he once rushed past me to confront a raccoon that had invaded our deck. The raccoon quickly backed off the deck and Ray was very proud of himself for several days.

He was also responsible most of the destruction of my furniture. Why use a perfectly good scratching post when there is a untouched piece of furniture that needs to be clawed up. And he loved to talk – all hours of the day (between naps), he would walk around his house talking up a storm.

Bob will not miss being the target of the cat ambushes and is quickly adjusting to her role as sole cat (a position that she has always thought was hers.) But Ray will be deeply missed from both of our lives.

August 08, 2008
Filed Under (Opinion) by transom

It’s a intellectual curiosity thing!

I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. … I don’t e-mail; I’ve never felt the particular need to e-mail. I read e-mails all the time, but the communications that I have with my friends and staff are oral and done with my cell phone. – John McCain

Even my father who was in the generation before the Senator has mastered his computer and bravely tackles new projects betting he can figure it out.

August 01, 2008
Filed Under (Cracks Me Up!) by transom

I think it bothers me that I found this funny. I have been working with computers for too long.