Amazon: All Your Base Belong To Us

Walking down 4th Street in Santa Rosa yesterday and passing shop after shop, it crossed my mind that many of these businesses are vulnerable to Amazon. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them fold in the next few years as Amazon’s tentacles reach out and take them down. High rents, employees and a nearly impossible hurdle to maintain inventory that can compete with Amazon I see as the Achilles Heel of the brick & mortar stores. Just a matter of time.

Cars and cats don’t mix

Today I came upon a juvenile cat in the middle of the road. It had just been hit by a car, but was alive and just sitting there with it’s head up. I went out to the road, waved at an oncoming car to stop and picked up the cat and carried back to my car. It was bleeding badly in the face and was obviously in shock. I drove to the nearest vet and a couple of assistants helped get it out of my car and into the clinic. After a few minutes the vet came out and said because it was a feral cat that it would be sent to the Sonoma County Shelter in Santa Rosa. A few hours later I called the shelter and was told that it had died at the clinic.

Old buttons or new?

The trend over the last few years in web design is to get rid anything with gloss, or shadows – so prevalent in the early web. However, just like with underlined links – there’s a functional aspect at risk when those things that visually say “click here” are removed and just replaced with color.

Another example is glossy PayPal buttons being replaced with flat, Amazon style CSS buttons. Are they really better? I haven’t done any serious AB testing between the two, but my hunch is the glossy buttons are stronger and have the advantage of familiarity. There are millions of websites which have/had the old PayPal buttons on them. People instantly recognize them and have probably clicked on them too, i.e., bought stuff. If their PayPal transactions went without a hitch, then they’ll most likely have a positive association to the buttons the next time they see them somewhere else, something the new CSS buttons lack.

All relationships end

One of the maxims I heard some thirty years (can’t remember who said it) was “All relationships end.” I’ve mentioned it before, and I still believe it true. Everybody you know, have met or will know, is going to die. That’s a fact.
Maybe you’ll die first, maybe not, but all relationships end. What you do with this insight is up to you. Time does indeed march on (or flies – depending on whom you talk to).

PG&E – nobody to talk to

PG&E customer service is now completely automated, and that sucks when you want to talk to somebody about your bill. Lots of luck trying to use their website to contact them too. Guess I’ll be heading over to the local office.

UPDATE 5/15
Found out that the closest PG&E branch (3965 Occidental Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95401) is now for construction only. Was handed a piece of paper with directions to another branch which handles billing (111 Stony Cir, Santa Rosa, CA 95401). Inside, this branch looks more like a bank with a bullet proof glass wall protecting the employees. On the plus side, the teller I got was a nice guy and easy to work with.

Chess

I’ve been battling it out on chess.com – now at 1246 (I was at 1298 just a few days ago). Playing 3 minute games. Plus side is you can cover a lot of ground when you’re winning. Unfortunately, the inverse is also true.

iGigBook vs forScore

My initial impression about these two apps is that forScore is much more intuitive and easier to use and is better programmed — by far. iGigBook is kludgy and requires a lot of jumping around between the app and the iGigBook server to get things synced up — forScore does not.

The reason? I suspect it’s because iGigBook was designed primarily for use with unauthorized scans of fake books. These old PDFs started appearing about twenty years ago on CD roms and online. The scans all have one thing in common – they’re not hyperlinked and have no tables of contents or indices that can be used. That’s where all the iGigBook shortcode indices come in to play – to work around the shortcoming of the scans by adjusting for missing pages with offsets.

http://www.igigbook.com/
https://forscore.co/

Poaching eggs in the microwave

I’ve been experimenting with poaching eggs in the microwave. I’m getting closer to getting the results I want, namely not over cooked. I’m using a covered small casserole dish by Anolon (Anolon Vesta Ceramics Casserole 18 oz Cobalt Blue)

1/2″ water in dish
Microwave 2 min (uncovered) to get water boiling
Add 3 eggs
Cover with lid
Microwave 45 seconds
Let stand 15 seconds
Drain excess water
Salt + pepper to taste