Category: Reviews

IE 7 1st impressions

I have now had the opportunity to mess around with IE 7 beta 2 for a week or so. Here is a list of things I like:

  • The new tab button that makes opening a blank tab very click-able.
  • The clean tool bar design.
  • Simply supporting RSS
  • The Tab Grid View

I read someone comparing IE 7 vs. Firefox to IE vs. Netscape. I am still a loyal Firefox user but again Microsoft is working hard to remove the functional differences between the two. It has been a long wait for IE 7 but It seems that it won’t disappoint the average user. The IE Blog has been an interesting read.

Web 2.0 Summary

I have spent the last few day at web 2.0 in San Francisco. The conference was the launching pad for 12 companies and my first real experience with a conference with loads of start-ups and venture capitalists. I found that the conference spawned many interesting lines of thought. I really enjoyed the presentations by Dick Hardt, Jason Fried, Jeremy Allaire’s Bright Cove, Steve lavine ‘s Transparensee. I found the conference to be full of hype. Setting the hype aside the conference was worth every penny.

Its about the experience and the details matter!

My wife and I went to a demonstration dinner at the Chopping Block in Chicago for Valentines Day. I will say this now the food was great and the Chef Susie McCall was wonderful. That said it could have been even better.

It’s about the experience and the details matter.

The meal cost $175 for two. Hmmm. I don’t know about you but any meal over $50 gets my attention.

We arrived at 7 sharp the published start of the class. We drove over 1.5 hours to get there. The dinner had 7 couples 4 seated around the cooking bar and 3 seated at a makeshift table behind the other couples.

Problem 1:
If the cooking bar only seats 4 couples only book 4 couples. Trying squeeze the additional couples in created more problems than it solved. From our second-class seating we could not clearly see the work area. How much revenue per session is enough?

Problem 2:
To seat the 3 additional couples two butcher-block tables were put together to make one table. The chairs used were bar chairs, which left the tabletop and my thighs at the same level. The tables even when placed together forced a person at each end to sit at an awkward angle. It reminded me of an over crowded family party.

Problem 3:
The meal was served family style, dishes passed from the left of the cooking bar around and then to the back table. For the most part this wasn’t to bad except that the asparagus was virtually gone. When the dish was handed to me there were exactly 6 pieces left and 3 people remaining. Hmmmm. I don’t like to do math in order to eat a $175 meal. From what I can tell the folks at the cooking bar didn’t do any math…. Asparagus was on the menu; you never know someone who likes asparagus might come to the meal (Like Me). How much does Asparagus cost? Not enough to make a difference in the profit margin…

My point is that every business must protect their customer experience with fanatical devotion. If something isn’t right the customer will notice. This is even more true for a company like the Chopping Block. After my first class I tried to convince all my close friends and associates to try the Chopping Block. Now I will still recommend but now add Caveat Emptor.

SAP Teched San Diego

I have spent the last week at SAP Teched in San Diego. I’m not going to review the content of the conference but I will comment on the amenities of the conference. The SDN Lounge was OK. It was short on seating and comfort in general. The conference in general was short on non-session seating. The conference needed a place where people could just hand out.

The San Diego Convention Center was nice and extremely spacious. The chairs used in the sessions were not very comfortable. I found myself standing more than sitting. Similar to the last Teched I attended the snacks were pretty good. Lunch was ok and there wasn’t anyone yelling at me about taking an extra slice of cheesecake (Java One style).

This conference had by far the best Internet connectivity of any conference I have ever attended. The connectivity was sponsored by Intel. Sun would be served well by asking Intel to sponsor connectivity at Java One, maybe it would help.

One a scale of 1 to 5 the conference amenities rates a 3.5. More casual seating and more comfortable seating during the sessions would rate at least a 4.

JavaOne Blog Begins

I am trying to blog as often as possible from JavaOne.

The Arrival

The flight out on America Airlines was full and uneventful. SFO was amazingly efficient in getting my bag out. The plane arrived at 1:15 and I was in a cab by 1:25, not bad for SFO. I am staying at the Westin St. Francis, the Cabbie new where the hotel was and made great time getting there. The only problem was that she could not get her credit card machine to process my card. The cab driver gave up after multiple phone calls to someone and lots of heated Portuguese. So lets see 4 hrs flying, 10 min to get my luggage, 20 min cab ride, 45 minutes trying to charge my credit card. aaaaahhhhhhh! She even had to call me later to get the expiration because the imprint didn’t get it, Go Figure. Here is my suggestion, how about a stored value smart card that you can buy at the airport for taxis, or flat rate vouchers you configure and buy at the airport. More to come�. Stay tuned.


I just downloaded iTunes. Apple knows user interface and has put together an impressive music catalog. The directed search is nice and the relevancy indicator is well done. I like the value added theme albums. They are the modern equivalent to the classic mix tape.

Bravo Steve Jobs, I don’t know much but I know I like iTunes.

Design is everything. iTunes may not dent the universe but it sure does make a nice effort.

PS. A qualifier, I don’t own any Apple products.

My favorite Pen

There are many like, it but this one is mine. I have been in a never-ending search for the perfect pen. Ballpoints are cheap and dependable but in my humble opinion they write like crap. I just happened upon the Staedtler Pigment Liner. This pen comes in multiple sizes from 1 mm to .05 mm and colors.

The pen is intended for use in line art but works well as an every day writer. The pen is waterproof, lightfast and acid free, a perfect combination for Journals and sketching.

If you are interested in additional pen information check out Kevin Kelly. In his cool tools he lists pens that he finds satisfactory.