September 30, 2007

Lunch 2.0 Coming to the San Fernando Valley

There have been Lunch 2.0 meetings all over the place. Last month, This Next helped host it (with the help of Andrew Warner) in Santa Monica…the first time it was in Los Angeles (finally)!

YellowBot will be hosting Lunch 2.0 next in Burbank. If you’re in LA and can make it, make sure to RSVP. Otherwise, make sure to spread the word (send emails, blog about it, etc).

More information about Lunch 2.0 here.

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February 23, 2006

Fios availability mashup

I’ve mentioned FiOS before (great Internet speeds at great prices).

I just noticed that DSL Reports has a Google Maps Mashup of FiOS Availability and of its predicted availability.

As I expected, no Verizon FiOS in my SBC area (Burbank). :-(

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January 24, 2006

Yahoo Burbank Buildings coming along

The buildings for Overture/Yahoo Search Marketing are coming along. Here are some pics for those interested:

yahoo search marketing building in burbank, california

yahoo search marketing/overture building in burbank, ca

The buildings are large and look nice. There are large amounts of room around the building which will be parking lots. You can see balconies on the buildings that have tables, seats, and umbrellas set up. It looks very nice. The second building I am assuming will also be Yahoo’s otherwise, it will be a foreign building in the middle of the Yahoo parking lot. This second building, as you can see from the picture is unfinished.

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December 31, 2005

How Best Buy Tried to Rip Me Off

You ever buy anything from Best Buy? If so, you better read on…

I had a Sony 400 DVD Changer that broke. That was unfortunate since it seemed to have broken quite easily but I was, in general, happy with its operation given its price relative to comparably-equipped competitors. I had purchased it from Amazon.

Well, I decided I needed to replace it before all my DVDs got damaged (which cost a more than the total price of the changer…my way of justifying its purchase with the wife ;-).

I had just received a Best Buy gift card for Christmas so I decided I would buy it from Best Buy (despite it being much cheaper from Amazon).

I decided to go to bestbuy.com (the online store) to check out what they had and what their prices would be when I go into the store. I found one that was a newer model of the one I had online and decided I would go in to pick it up (click link to see screen capture) instead of wait for it to be shipped.

As you can see from bestbuy.com, the price is listed as $375 (screen capture in case they change the price…and another one showing in store pick up available). When they scanned it at the store (no price was listed at the display) during my trip there on Friday, Dec 30, 2005, the price said $399. I told them I had just come over from checking the price online and it had said the lower price for an in-store purchase (some prices are available only online…but not this one…I had even checked the inventory to see if it was available at the Burbank store (see screen capture where they state available for in store pick up).

They didn’t give me that price and said they would check it. They took me over to a computer that showed a browser in kiosk mode that was basically a customized web browser without toolbars and looked like it had bestbuy.com loaded in it. The exact model I was purchasing was pulled up on the screen and did not display the cheaper price…it instead showed the higher price! I asked if this was bestbuy.com and the salesperson stated it was. I followed the exact click path I took to confirm…click on Electronics->DVD Players->scroll down and click on the DVD player I wanted. No luck…the salesperson stated I might have looked at a different model…but I was sure I was correct. The salesperson went to speak with his manager and came back saying he would knock down $10. That didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me…to randomly knock down $10 without proof of a lower price…hmmmmmm.

I told him I would be back, drove down the street to my house and looked it up again using the same exact click path. Low and behold, there was the DVD player still listed for the lower price. This leads me to believe 1 of a couple of things: 1) I was NOT on bestbuy.com in the store but rather, some internal mirror or 2) the bestbuy.com website shows different prices based on IP Address, user-agent, or other method. This in and of itself may not seem like much, but the salesperson put it out there that I *was* on bestbuy.com and there *was no* lower price!!!

I was really disappointed in Best Buy’s demonstration of bad faith. When I went back to show a printed copy of the lower price, I went back to the same exact salesperson to question him. He was in the process of showing another potential customer that the price for a projector she wanted was not lower like she thought and was sitting at the computer kiosk again. I questioned it about it in front of her and she stated she had experienced the same thing. He was unable to give me an answer of what had happened and shrugged his shoulders…then sent me to another salesperson to get rid of me who offered to price match…their *own* price!!!! :-(

Well, you know what they say, let the buyer beware. If they tried to pull this on such a small savings, I can’t imagine what they’d try to do to stop a much larger savings that may affect their sales commissions substantially…what a disappointment!

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October 1, 2005

Burbank Fire Being Controlled

Looks like the fire is not contained but seems as if the fire retardant they dropped on the edge of the mountains near us have worked (and who know what else they’ve done to help us).

Burbank Fire moving away

The cavalry arrived early this morning with helicopters and super scoopers:

helicopters putting out Burbank Fire helicopters putting out Burbank Fire
helicopters putting out Burbank Fire

The pictures are a bit fuzzy because of the smoke.

Thanks to all the great, hard work by our fire fighters!

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September 30, 2005

Burbank Fire getting close

Here we go again. I don’t live in an area known to have brush fires. In fact, there is very little brush where we live. There are, however, the verdugo hills further up and there is plenty of brush there.

This picture was taken while standing right outside my front door. The house you see in the foreground is my neighbor’s, across the street (that column is their chimney). The flames sometimes shot up 2-3 stories in the air and seemed to be cyclical as if they’d flare up when going through heavy brush, die down shortly, then flare up again as it edged towards the top of the mountain and headed in our direction. Up until now, it hasn’t quite gotten to our side of the mountain (and there is a valley in between us and the fire) but it’s got to be close considering how much of the flames we’re seeing.

Lots of neighbors were hanging around outside watching, listening to the local channel for evacuation notices (they’ve already set up a place at McCambridge Park)…others went inside to “prepare.” Even Robert sees the fire.

NBC is reporting that “containment is nowhere in sight” and that 700 acres have already been burned and resources are stretched thin due to the topanga fire.

I also don’t see planes or helicopters working on the fire. I assume since visibility is low (due to both darkness and smoke) that they don’t operate at night.

Hmmm….if this site goes down, I’ve already packed my family and left. :-(

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September 12, 2005

Power Outage in L.A.

I was down for a couple of hours (1pm - 3:20pm PST approx).

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September 3, 2005

Fire in Burbank, CA

There’s a fire going on right now in the Burbank Hills, near the Cabrinis. It is located approximately here.

I’ve spotted 4-5 firefighting helicopters that are picking up water somewhere northeast and dropping it onto the fire and repeating this as the fire seems to be subsiding.

I took a few pictures with my digital camera but this fuzzy one is from my phone:
burbank hills fire near cabrinis

The helicopters are flying low, over my house, no doubt taking the quickest/safest route to pick up the water and to drop it off. You can see the trail of water pouring out the bottom-back of the helicopter as they race over to drop it off on top of the fire.

The last time I saw a large fire was a few weeks ago on my way from work (in west hollywood) to home (in burbank). It was a large fire in the hollywood hills. I remember driving home that afternoon up Buena Vista with visibility very low from all the smoke/residue (and it was a bit difficult to breathe). It was the worst near Burbank Blvd but cleared up as I continued North. I found it amazing how far all that soot could travel and wreak havoc.

UPDATE: I was woken up this morning by more helicopters. They’re hovering over the charred area, probably investigating/reviewing the area.

While trying to find information about this, I came across this…I never knew the LAFD had its own blog. It appears to be a site used for press releases, etc. They even have their own flickr photos.

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August 31, 2005

Searching for realestate on maps

I cam across this article about Google Maps Mashups (these are where people use Google Maps and lay information/data over them or use them in other ways by combining them with other data/technology).

I was just glancing over it when I came across the end which mentioned Homepages.com. It caught my eye because, at one point, I worked at Homepage.com (now gone but URL was sold off).

A software company that wishes to keep its identity secret plans an October roll-out of a comprehensive Web site that will display houses for sale over aerial photographs or street maps.

Visitors to HomePages.com will also be able to pull up information about schools, crime and nearby businesses, along with photographs and descriptions of houses on the market.

Hmmm…sounds like a cross between a couple of sites I developed. :-)

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July 20, 2005

Yahoo Experiencing Problems Moving to L.A.

This article was brought to my attention by Romeo. Yahoo is apprently facing issues trying to get their key people moved out to the Los Angeles area…many of which are defecting or taking other roles within the company that wouldn’t require them to move. This may slow down Yahoo’s Hollywood push (including the move to L.A.). Interestingly enough, I notice that “employees in the group have bristled at Mr. Braun’s management style, according to three people familiar with the matter” … sounds awfully familiar to a few people I used to work with, no? ;-)

This sounds like issues getting people into the Santa Monica offices. I don’t think there will be a problem getting people to commute from Overture’s (now Yahoo Search Marketing) Pasadena office to the new Burbank digs (yes, I am from Burbank!). From what I understand, their lease expires in Q4 2005 so they should begin moving in coming months.

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