Links
Twitter feed

Tuesday
Oct222013

The Apple Store: Fascinating look behind the scenes

This was a fun read with lots of cool insights. If your blood pressure surges and adrenalin courses through your veins as you approach the big white electronic temple then read on. Here's an excerpt from: Retail Therapy: Inside the Apple Store:

Let’s explore Loss Prevention. Theft hurts profit. Theft matters more with portable items of great value, like say a laptop, or a smartphone, or high-end speakers. Multiply that value by how many different models and spare parts an Apple store needs to keep in stock, and you have a few million dollars of goods on hand. Scale up more if it’s a big flagship store. That warrants not only video cameras and bag searches of employees, but armed professionals. Apple stores have the equivalent of undercover Federal Air Marshals on hand, like my friend Brock.

 

Sunday
Oct202013

Gripping story of restaurant

Who knew that a story about behind-the-scenes of a big restaurant could be gripping, but this one is. I guess it's a combination of a fascinating operation with outstanding writing. Check it out.

22 Hours in Balthazar - NYTimes.com:

Produce comes in, too — 50-pound cases of russets from Idaho stacked head high and six deep; spinach, asparagus, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes — as do dry goods, dairy and some 500 pounds of insanely expensive peanut oil for the French fries. The restaurant employs six stewards to deal with deliveries and storage alone; they weigh goods and check them against invoices, putting everything in its proper place, keeping the Health Department happy. At a typical restaurant, as much as one-third of the overhead goes to food costs, and so efficiency is an imperative. “Monday, you’ll see,” Kelvin Arias, the head steward, tells me, “all the walk-ins will be empty.”

 

Saturday
Oct192013

More about GreenGoose and the Brush Monkey

Amazing story of a great looking product, and awesome demo, on the spot investment of $100,000 and still... It didn't work. The story was told by Scott Kirsner in the Boston Globe:

"Today, GreenGoose is out of business, and Krejcarek is grappling with $80,000 in credit card debt — his approach to funding the company after investors’ money ran out earlier this year. When he says, “I’m trying to scrape together spare change to buy gasoline,” it’s hard to tell if he’s kidding." (from The Boston Globe)

You have to admire that the founder of Green Goose (Brian Krejcarek) was willing to share his experience with Scott and the rest of us. There are many lessons there. To really appreciate the story you need to see how it started, with the demo at the Launch Conference. It was an unbelievable and triumphant presentation:

And yet. Here's a page of Bonus material where you can read more of how it ended:

"Krejcarek says that the company spent much of the money it raised exploring different product concepts. By the time he launched Brush Monkey, there was about $200,000 left in the bank. The product wasn't simple enough for people to set up. And there was no big distribution partner putting it on store shelves and helping to promote it. "Distribution is probably one of the hardest problems for a startup to solve," he says." (from Innovation Economy, Scott's Blog)

Saturday
Oct192013

Amazon reminds me of Raiders of the Lost Ark

The only difference is that Amazon seems to know exactly every little item is in this crazy warehouse. Look here for a bunch more amazing pictures! 

Monday
Oct072013

Scary Tongue

Here's how folks in Canada are convinced not to buy cigarettes. This is a box of cigarettes that I happened across in an airport in Canada. Pretty gross. yes, I am convinced!

Monday
Oct072013

Bizarro News from Fox

Fox News debuts bizarre, giant tablets in its outrageous new newsroom | The Verge:

Fox News has just unveiled a breathtakingly ridiculous newsroom, complete with novelty-sized Windows-based touchscreens, a Twitter wall, and a wannabe Minority Report-style display, which it hopes will connect it with generations of viewers who use smartphones and apps.

 

Saturday
Oct052013

Fascinating article about the technology behind Healthcare.gov

Pretty amazing that the govt is actually placing all the code for healthcare.gov on github for all of us to inspect. There's only one commit, and it's 3 months old. Also there's a reasonable amount of developer information available.

Somehow I suspect that it is not *all* there or how fast it will be updated, but still whatever's there is a big step forward from the SOP of the past!

Open by design: Why the way the new Healthcare.gov was built matters | E Pluribus Unum:

The people building the new Healthcare.gov are unusual: instead of an obscure sub-contractor in a nameless office park in northern Virginia, a by a multidisciplinary team at HHS worked with Development Seed, a scrappy startup in a garage in the District of Columbia that made its mark in the DC tech scene deploying Drupal, an open source content management system that has become popular in the federal government over the past several years.

 

Tuesday
Oct012013

I wouldn't put it past them

How much do you want to bet that somewhere someone in this country a malware or other attack is being launched against the new "Obamacare" Web site? 

I have great sympathy for the team(s) that put up that web site, back end and other support infrastructure for this site. And in the best of possible conditions there will be hiccups in deploying such a complex system. Add to that that at 8:00am today everyone on earth knew that the site was up and that they could start playing with it, and you are facing a real challenge. So don't be surprised if there's a small or big hiccup in the first few weeks and months.

But it occurred to me that over and above that, there are so many haters in this country (and probably around the world) that there almost certainly are concious and malicious attacks being waged to corrupt, disrupt, bring down, slow down, or steal data from this service, all in an effort to embarass us in front of all the world.

I really really hope this isn't true, but, I wouldn't put it past them.

Monday
Sep302013

Interesting behind-the-scenes look at NSA

Zegart joins scholars at NSA for rare briefing on spy agency's woes - CISAC:

CISAC Co-Director Amy Zegart and nine other national security and intelligence scholars were recently invited to the headquarters of the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Md., for unprecedented talks with high-ranking officials. They discussed cybersecurity, the plummeting public trust in the agency, its relationship with Congress and how to rebuild the agency’s reputation and rethink its program operations.

 

Wednesday
Sep252013

[security] Fascinating ID Theft saga

It is quite amazing (but not surprising) the degree of sophistication, care, and patience these hackers apply. Their engineering and business savvy are at the same level as the best of Google and Amazon.

Data Broker Giants Hacked by ID Theft Service — Krebs on Security:

An identity theft service that sells Social Security numbers, birth records, credit and background reports on millions of Americans has infiltrated computers at some of America’s largest consumer and business data aggregators, according to a seven-month investigation by KrebsOnSecurity.