Friday, May 27, 2016

Nostalgia on the Sea

We are about to meet up with some of our boating friends this weekend and I am reminded of our very first boat cruise. It was in 2008, I think, and we cruised with the very fine people of Rainier Yacht Club. We started in Lake Washington (in Washington), went through the locks into Puget Sound, and worked our way towards Thetis Island in Canada with several stops along the way.

Naturally, for a trip of this magnitude, I felt it was only necessary to bring my Starbucks Barista coffee grinder and my Starbucks Barista espresso machine. (Both were re-branded Saeco machines.)

It rained during most of our trip and by the time we got to Canada I was tired of being cold and wet. Then my coffee grinder jammed and I thought I was done with boating forever. Luckily, we were traveling with a Porsche mechanic and a boat mechanic who were more than eager to help and tear the thing apart.

They fixed it in no time, even as I was wringing my hands with worry, and order was restored. The rest of our trip was without incident (at least so far as coffee was concerned) and we have been boating ever since. Also, I learned a couple things:

  • It is not necessary to bring a coffee grinder and an espresso maker on a boat. It might make sense on a larger boat but cruising on our boat is more like camping with a water view. (Pre-ground coffee and a press pot will suffice.)
  • Always travel with mechanics in your posse. I can't tell you how many times those two have come to our aid on the water. They became good friends and our boating mentors.

I still have that grinder (and the espresso maker) and they both work fine. Every time I get ready for another cruise, I pre-grind the coffee, pack my press pot, and remember.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Time to buy a lottery ticket . . .

  • The Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Seattle Mariners all lead their respective divisions in major league baseball.
  • For the first time in 45 years, there are no Canadian teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

. . . because what are the odds?

Friday, May 6, 2016

It's not Google you have to worry about, it's Starbucks.

" Starbucks will ultimately know as much about your day as Google and Facebook do. " 
ZDNet - Starbucks' digital transformation: The takeaways every enterprise needs to know
They are doing this by expanding their digital ecosystem by partnering with companies outside their industry to offer goods and services to Starbucks customers.
" In a statement, Howard Schultz, the chief executive of Starbucks, said, 'We see a future in which the Starbucks retail experience seamlessly extends to the mobile devices our millions of customers carry with them every day.' 
The New York Times - Some New York Times Articles to Appear Free on Starbucks App
My Starbucks Rewards members will soon be able to read Starbucks-recommended articles using the Starbucks app and can also earn stars, Starbucks' digital currency, for purchasing a subscription.

Starbucks' relationship with Spotify allows members to listen to the same music that plays in their stores through the Starbucks app. It also allows members to influence what music is played and earn stars for in-app purchases.

Members can earn stars by using Lyft. They will also be able to tip their drivers with Starbucks eGift Cards.

The latest building block in their empire, in partnership with Chase Bank, is a Starbucks prepaid debit card.
Despite some possible rewards points complexity, Starbucks stands to reap a specific benefit from its card deal with Chase: better cash flow.
The Motley Fool - Why Starbucks Wants You to Load Up Its Prepaid Visa Debit Car
Starbucks will have access to what you read, what you listen to, where you go, and now they will have access to your purchasing habits. Starbucks already offers a prepaid card - which generates $150 million annually in positive net cash flow - but it can only be used on Starbucks merchandise. A debit card will allow members to earn stars for third-party purchases and will give Starbucks a whole lot of data on members' purchasing habits.

It's interesting, on a theoretical level, how businesses are blurring industry boundaries but scary, too, because we have to trust that these businesses will safeguard our information. Starbucks plans to invest over $250 million in technology in 2016. Let's just hope they get some good IT people for that.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Specialists in the 2016 NFL Draft

A total of 253 players were drafted in this year's NFL draft, five of whom were as specialists. The Chargers, Jets, and Broncos drafted punters. The Buccaneers drafted a kicker and the Lions drafted a long snapper - Jimmy Landes from Baylor University.

Only two specialists were drafted in 2015 - a punter and long snapper Joe Cardona.

If you are following along, Nathan Theus, the long snapper from University of Georgia, was signed by the Broncos. The Cardinals, the only team without a long snapper going into the draft, signed Kameron Canaday from Portland State University.

Clint Gresham, former long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks, remains unemployed although he reported on Twitter earlier today that he plans to write a book entitled, "How I See the World - Upside Down."

Okay, I made that last part up. (The title, not the book.) It's really called, "Snap Chat."

(Okay, not really.)