Off the Top: Review Entries

August 2, 2006

Terra Plana Pleasure

My Terra Plana Boi shoes arrived today. They not only fit, but they are very comfortable out of the box. I had tried a pair at Imelda & Louies in Portland, Oregon but they did not fit and I needed the next size up, which they did not have. I enjoyed shopping directly at the Terra Plana site and even though they are a UK firm they have local U.S. shipping. Brilliant that!

The true test will be walking around in them in the upcoming weeks and months. These are replacing my 18 month old Born (semi-racing/driving) shoes that I really liked, but they no longer make. One of the things that interested me was Terra Plana shoes are environmentally friendly, which is really rare in the shoe making business (at least from what I have read) with the toxic glues and plastics. The only important thing is how they fit and how comfortable they are for a day of walking, as well as how well they hold up. If these are still in regular use in 18 months I will be a huge fan (I am well on my way to being that now).

January 28, 2005

Amazon and A9 Provide Yellow Pages with Photos

Everybody is talking about Amazon's (A9) Yellow Pages today. Amazon has done a decent job bringing photos into their Yellow Pages for city blocks. This is a nice touch, but it is missing some interaction and interconnections between the photos and the addresses, I hope this will come. I really would like to be able to click on a photo and have the Yellow Pages information show up, everything I tried on Clement Street in San Francisco, California did not work that way.

One of the things that really hit me in playing with the tool today at lunch was how the Yellow Pages still suck. I have had problems with the Yellow Pages for..., well ever. I grew up in cross-cultural environments with British and French influences in my day-time care givers growing up. I moved around a fair amount (up and down the West Coast growing up and Europe and the U.S. East Coast). Culture has their own vocabulary (let alone language) for the same items. What I call things, depends on context, but no matter what, the Yellow Pages do not match what I wish to call what I want (or sometimes need).

Today's search I used one of the Amazon search sample, "Optica", which had some nice references. Knowing how I usually approach using the Yellow Pages I search for glasses (as that is what I need to get or need repaired) or contacts. Doing this in a paper Yellow Pages usually returned nothing or pointers to a couple other places. One would thing online Yellow Pages to be different, well they are, they returned nothing related. Glasses returns restaurant supply and automotive window repairs with not one link to eye glasses, nor a reference to "you may be looking for...".

A9 is a great search tool and has great product tools and incredible predictability algorithms, which will be very helpful down the road for the Personal InfoCloud, but the current implementation is still a little rough. I can see where they are heading with this. And I can dream that I would have this available for a mobile device at some point in the next two or three years.

Once very nice piece that was integrated was reviews and ratings of Yellow Pages entries. This is great for the future, once they get filled out. It will also be great once it is available from mobile device (open API so we can start building a useful tool now?). But, it brings my scenario of the future to light rather quickly, where I am standing in front of a restaurant looking at over 100 restaurant reviews on my mobile device. There is no way that I can get through all of these reviews. Our supporting full complement of context tools will be needed to get pulled into play to get me a couple or four good reviews that will mean something to me.

This is but a small slice of the Personal InfoCloud, which is much broader and focusses on enabling the person to leverage the information they have and find. Pairing these two and enabling easy access to that information when it is needed.

November 19, 2003

Werbach reviews Handspring Treo 600

Kevin Werbach reviews the Handspring Treo 600 in The Triumph of Good Enough

January 7, 2003

Mark offers solid review of Safari

Mark Pigrim offers the most helpful review of Apple Safari browser. Mark lays out the downsides to the browser and the need for some work arounds.

April 25, 2002

Accexxibility and Flash MX

Wired News provides a great overview of Flash MX and its accessibility. The article includes a link to Zoot Suit Culture, which is a good showcase for accessible Flash (I had been trying to get back to the Zoot, since I saw it Monday, but did not have the link).

November 21, 2001

Derrick Story Tests the Ti and adds to my lust for this great machine with the amazing OS.

November 1, 2001

CNet offers a browser death match reviewing the Microsoft IE6 and Netscape 6.2 offerings. It is largely a dead heat. I have been using NS 6.2 and I am quite pleased with it. It is fast, solid, and renders pages very nicely. Both browsers are standars compliant (unlike what MS would like to have you believe) and offer very good experiences.

Trying to decide on getting Windows XP, take a look at InfoWorld's Waiting for Windows XP article.

I have been playing with Intuit's QuickBase and finding it to be a really nice Web application for your database needs. It is rather straight forward to set up and has some nice features and functionality with out having to code. The sorting columns and creating your own views is very nice.

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