Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Baseball playoffs in HD on TBS

October 17th, 2008 No comments

I had been bummed that TBS was carrying some of the LCS games this year, and my cable provider only has TBS in “non-HD” aka “I can’t stand to watch that it looks terrible” format. Then today my TiVo greeted me with a message that my “channel lineup has changed, select to read entire message.” So I did and what do you know, I now have TBS in High Definition! 

Tampa Bay is in the playoffs? (j/k)
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Ready for ReadyBoost?

October 10th, 2008 No comments

I like power, I like speed. That’s why I make my car go fast with fun modifications. So, when I started hearing about “readyboost” I thought this was another product or technique to make a turbo charged or super charged engine work more efficiently. Well, no. Microsoft quietly (to me anyway) released a feature for thier Windows Vista operating system that enables more efficient use of resources when you plug in a compatible flash memory device. (Like a USB thumb drive – you know, you’ve seen them I’m sure.) 

I carry around a 4GB thumb drive for backing up my files at work, and when I insert the drive in a  USB port a window pops up and one of the options is “speed up my computer with ReadyBoost.” I have been ignoring that for a few weeks now since I thought it was some type of program the thumb drive manufacturer placed on the drive that you had to install. Well, I don’t ignore it anymore! I clicked on it and it asks how much space you want to allocate on the thumb drive to this extra memory capacity. Nice.
I learned of all this through David Pogue’s NY Times Circuits email . . . there was a link to an article How I Learned To Tolerate Vista by Stephen Williams. So now I’m cruising with extra speed and power with ReadyBoost. Funny how the message finally made it’s way to me.
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Shout Out for Doug’s Tuned In Calculator

August 16th, 2008 No comments

I work with Doug Karr, who has so much enthusiasm and creativity, it spills out of his office and every now and then I’m fortunate enough to soak up a little. Admittedly, Doug likes to plan, model, ponder and create and has a great number of ideas 90% completed and he can’t remember them all! In a flurry of genius, Doug recently created (and finished) the Tuned In Calculator which has garnered a bit of interest. To help him celebrate this achievement, I invite you to check it out. Here’s the result on this blog:

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Start up impressions – working for a young technology company

July 30th, 2008 No comments

I’m going to try to keep more content coming in to this space on a more regular basis, some topics may just be about “me” while others may take on a more work – life – hobbies tone.

I’ve been with my new employer for three months now, well into my initiation period. I now see my contributions making a difference (in a small company most everything makes a difference in some way!). Our management team had a good conversation today about the future of the company (we get together every two weeks for financial and strategy sessions) and I truly appreciate the amount of involvement I have with these decisions. There are moments when I want things to happen much more quickly, though. That’s my impatient side coming through and I tend to ignore the guy on my other shoulder whispering “you better watch what you ask for!”

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Safe landing at Patronpath

April 18th, 2008 No comments

So I did it! I’m now director of marketing for Patronpath, provider of marketing and e-commerce solutions for the restaurant industry. (Actually I stared about a month ago, I’ve just been late in posting about it!) I happen to be working with Douglas Karr, a great marketing and technology wizard who is active in the Indianapolis blogging scene. My days are spent developing and implementing marketing strategies to help this small, young company build a strong, sustainable and growing customer base.

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Ensuring your customers find you . . .

July 10th, 2007 No comments

It’s well known that the number one customer acquisition tool for traditional retailers is drive-by, that is, customers find you by driving by your location. But what happens if they’re on the internet and want to find you? One way is to provide a map, with the goal of driving traffic to your retail location. This is very common as well and today I learned the power of the Google Map API. Without some intermediate level of programming expertise, you’ll want to outsource this function. Today I was in a team meeting speaking to such a programmer who opened my eyes to the power of Google Maps. What a great tool for retailers! To make it even easier to “find a location near you” we talked about a way the interface can automatically display the closest locations based on the users originating IP address. Wow! So now when asked “how did you find us?” the answer more and more will be “I was just surfing by!”

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Digital photos to the rescue – another happy customer.

July 5th, 2007 No comments

Over the fourth of July holiday my uncle emailed me with a problem. You see, he knows I work for a bird feeding company and can help him find the product he needs. He is trying to find an alternate way to mount his bird feeding setup on his deck. He scoured the internet but just did not find the part he needed right away. What did he do? He email some digital photographs to me, I consulted with one of our in-house product managers and with the help of one of our local stores, the parts were identified, ordered and drop-shipped directly from the supplier. My uncle will have his parts in 5-7 days. And he’s a very happy customer. Mind you, he is about 70 years young and lives 2,000 miles from me.

Lesson? Don’t think your customer base is not using the internet or is not current with the latest technology. My uncle may not be an technology expert, though he has a digital camera and uses the internet regularly to research and shop. Don’t underestimate your customers.

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Birdwalks – Don’t go into the woods unarmed

July 2nd, 2007 1 comment

Sure, a walk in the woods armed with your binoculars and field guide is standard equipment and is plenty rewarding when you spot a bird or two to add to your life list. What’s that you hear? It’s a bird chirping, singing a happy song, one that you’re not familiar with. You focus your optics in the direction of this wonderful melody. What’s that bird? You simply cannot spot it so you continue on. Then there it is again – another bird call you’re certain you should know – but you’re not armed with on of the latest gadgets to help you identify birds by their song. Available for your iPod, check out birdJam, “A Revolution in Bird Song Identification” or Thayer Birding Software, which includes a feature to export bird songs to your iPod. These tools give you an edge by enabling you to associate birds with their specific call.

I was first exposed to this technology on a recent birdwalk, when the birding expert who was leading us prepared the group by playing several bird songs from his iPod nano slipped into a portable speaker. He knew we were more likely to hear some spring migrants well before we could spot them, and he was right. These bird call identification tools enable even the casual birder to hone their expertise and become more accomplished at identifying birds by sound. So don’t go into the woods again without making sure you’re properly armed!

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Customers: Tech Toys They’re Using

June 28th, 2007 No comments

The bird feeding and bird watching customer is no longer the stereotypical older woman hunched over a spotting scope with a paper based life list and a old Peterson’s Field Guide tucked in a pocket. Customers of all demographics are using electronic field guides, iPod based bird call identifiers and global positioning system devices to find and log bird sightings (just to name a few). Research at home can begin at a site like Mitch Waite’s As a service to our customers and as a tool for Wild Birds Unlimited’s store owners to use, we re-branded as and launched it as part of our web site. (WhatBird is available for others to use on their site, contact Mitch here.) This has proven very valuable, we use it to reference the birds that are most popular at feeders, those that might be seen migrating through a certain area, or to find out more about a bird seen during a recent walk or one visiting a backyard feeding station. This certainly does not eliminate the need for the paper-based field guides, provides further detail and benefits from the instant and constant updating from its authors. Yes, we can definitely attract a broader demographic by using the electronic goodies available in this industry!

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Finding a niche

June 27th, 2007 1 comment

So what do I know? One option was to blog about my daily personal life (boring!). Another was to simply provide reviews of sites I visit and books I read, mostly about technology and business. Then I thought, well what do I know? I’m lucky enough to have a job where I can thrive doing what I love, using technology to help business owners market their customer experience, products and services. How do I do that? Let’s find out together. I do a lot of research on current trends that I’ll share and I’ll also relate to you what’s currently working and not working, where I’ve been and where I’m going along the tech trail.

I happen to apply my knowledge professionally at the company headquarters of the retail franchise Wild Birds Unlimited, therefore many posts will pertain to the franchise business, bird feeding and bird watching. You’d be amazed at how technology has transformed our business of supporting our independent business owners, how they can market their business using technology and how their customers use tech in bird feeding and bird watching.

What kind of readers am I looking for? Small business owners looking to improve using technology with a focus on franchise businesses, franchised and independent bird feeding and bird watching specialty store owners, and customers or fans of this business that might take an interest in how technology ultimately affects their shopping experience. Let’s go!

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