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What the Flock?

I’m posting this from Flock, a new browser that has a blog editor built right in. Nice, basic formatting is available in a WYSIWYG window. Not sure it will replace Ecto yet but I like the idea of not having to leave the browser to do a quick post.

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Whoo Whoo, $24.99 In “Free” Merchandise at Wal-Mart via Five-Fingered Discount

Seems Wal-Mart wants to encourage the small shoplifter with a policy not to call the cops if the value of the pilfered merchandise is less than $25. Apparently the previous threshold was $3! Cops in small towns all over the country must be ecstatic!

Maybe I do have a reason to visit Wally World after all!

Here’s the full scoop:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/13/business/13walmart.html

Wil Shipley’s $10,000 Bet That Vista Will Not Be Shipping By January 2007.

Wil Shipley has posted a $10,000 dollar bet to Bill Gates that Vista will not ship in January. Not withstanding Wil’s confidence and pocketbook, the article is good humor for those that are following the Vissta debacle and laughing all the way. Wish I had the guts, and backing, to have made the bet and Wil’s way with words.

Just a portion from Wil

“You said, “If the feedback from the beta tests shows it is not ready for prime time, I’d be glad to delay it.” Glad? Really? Well, get used to happiness, I guess. Because you know that, if you’re lucky, in January you’re going to squirm and weasel and release a “limited version” that you “recommend” only for, uh, say, professional IT guys who only have one eye, and suicide kings. Then, when you get a bunch of press on how crappy that version of Vista is, you’ll quietly cut more and more features from it until you end up with the “home” version, which will look mysteriously like XP with some new paint.”

Huzzah!

See the full article:
http://wilshipley.com/blog/2006/07/note-to-bill-gates-ill-take-your-bet.html

My Frappr Map

Frappr has become a pretty neat tool. I tried it a while back and found it interesting but did not really use it. the other day I went back and found it more mature and usable. I set up two maps. One is my personal Frappr map so friends can add their marker to it and the other is specifically related to radio controlled slope soaring for locations of slope soaring pilots, sites, event sites and manufacturers.

So, Where Did We Buy Syd’s Bike? Bikesmiths, That’s Where

Truth be told, I’d likely have bought Syd’s bike at Bikesmiths anyway but it has been a few years since I was into biking hard core; most of the guys I once knew at Bikesmiths are gone though the guys who have replaced the guys I knew seemed as nice and as willing to help as the previous generation. They were in the running but not a sure thing. In reality, any other shop I stopped at, and there were 5, could have stolen the sale. None were as grievously poor at service as Wheel and Sprocket (Hear that Chris!) but all fell short of the goal. No inventory here, selection of one there, odd hours at this one, crappy department store bike at that one.

In the end Scott, one of the owners of Bikesmiths, ended up working with us. I hadn’t been in the shop in a few years but he recognized me, helped us and got us on our way. Thanks, Scott! Service isn’t dead. It just works over on Murray!

Not a big sale, I know, but here is the grabber. A buddy of mine called and asked for help fixing his bike. I said he should lay it too rest and look at a new bike. Where do you think I suggested? Wheel and Ignore-ya? Nope, Bikesmiths. And his wife will likely get a new bike as well.

You want a bike and live in the Milwaukee area? Save a bunch of time and go to Bikesmiths.

Good to be back!

Yeah, it has been a while. Quite a few life changy things and more work than normal, coupled with not feeling tip-top for the past week or so, has been a challenge.

My dad passed away peacefully on April 6th after declining health related to Alzheimer’s and an auto accident about 15 years ago that left him partially immobilized. I set up a site to honor him and will be adding stories and photos as time goes on. I sure do miss that guy.

A little over a month later my son, Garrett, was born. I wish he could have met my pop and vise-versa. Garrett is super cool and while he does not do much more than eat, poop and sleep he is beginning to smile a lot and seems to be more aware of what is going on around him. He’ll have to have a site soon as well! I already set up an email for him it is garrett(at)gasworksdesign.com if you want to send him a note.

Finally, I’m catching up on work and have a couple of big projects just about done. Working on something for over a year is a task I have not done for quite a while and I am looking forward to wrapping up. More when that is done.

Why I DIDN’T Buy a Bike at Wheel and Sprocket Today and Will Never Go In One of Their Stores Again

My 7-year old daughter, Syd, is clamoring for a new bike. Her old bike is really too small so we went a hunting. I kind of had an idea where we’d end up buying it but we made a few other stops to look at styles and check fit. One of those places was Wheel and Sprocket., Milwaukee’s largest bikes shop(s), with several locations. One happens to be near our house. Nice big place, lots of bikes, several that would fit the bill, and several staff members who seemed oblivious to our presence. Two service wonks were helping some Lance Armstrong wanna be with his carbon wonder bike (Nice, when you weigh 220 plus) and didn’t even give us a cursory glance, No big surprise there. One dude was coming in the door for his shift so, since he wasn’t on the clock yet, why bother with a “hi”. What really got me was the two women at the front desk. In this store, the row of girls bikes is right in front of the service desk so they saw us, for at least 10 minutes, looking over the girls bikes. I pulled a couple out to have Syd try them on for size. Not a peep from the counter. Not even a “hi”. I made a point of looking at them to be sure they saw us, looked for someone working the floor but there was no one else around. Did I mention that we were the only other potential customers in the store besides Lance? Well, we were. Finally, one of the women came out from behind the counter, with a couple of boxes and proceeded to walk right past us, again, not a word, and went into the back room, came back got another box, went back to the room again and returned to the counter where she picked up the phone. Not one word from her. Oh, yeah, in the meantime Syd was making her presence known by trying on helmets, listening to bell sounds etc. Just so someone knew we were there. No one noticed.

After about 15 minutes one of the women did actually come out and say “CanIhelpyou” or something like that.

“Sure, we are here looking at bikes for my 7-year old daughter here”, I said.

“Whichoneshewant?” said the lady.

“Well, they all look pretty similar” I said, “Are these the right size?”

Don’t you think she’d suggest trying one out? Nope, I had to start doing her job for her. I pulled a bike out again, and asked Syd to step over

“Can you reach the brake lever, hon? I asked.

“Nope”

To the lady, “Can this be adjusted so she can reach it?” I said.

“No” she said whereupon I showed her how to adjust it.

The icing on the cake was when I asked her if this was the entire selection of girls bikes because I’d seen a different brand that I was curious about on their website. She said “Thisisallwehave”.

I asked if maybe one of their other stores would have the bike I saw on their website.

“Mby” she said.

Did she offer to call and check? No. Good thing they promote Eco-friendly, low-impact biking because after I pried the other locations out of here instead of did she use their fancy, many, many thousand dollar computer inventory system to check the other stores or warehouse? No. Apparently she expected me to drive 30-40 miles to one location, discover they did not have the bike I wanted to see, drive another 30-40 to the other store, all at $3.17 a gallon. Sweet, NOT!

I said “thanks” and bye. No point wasting more time here.

It is called service people. Badabing, If you don’t give it, ya get nothing! Badabye! In fact we got better help at Target!! The dude working the “bike” area was courteous and helpful. Even informed us that his Target sold more bikes than any other Target in the state. Main reason we didn’t buy there was that the bikes suck, the assembly sucks and because when I asked if he could get us a pump to fill the flat back tire he said no “that guy only comes in on Tuesdays”. Guess what, there were over 50 pumps right there on the rack but no joy so away we went.

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