Saturday, October 27, 2012

Mother's Milk Tea Warning

I live with an array of housemates which includes a couple and their one-year-old. I mention this because as I was rooting through a take-what-you-want house shelf I found a couple of sacks of "Mother's Milk" tea. I'm an adventurous sort, so even though Chamomile was hardly a stretch difference, I went for MM.

I will never make that mistake again.

This was easily the nastiest tea I have ever had. I thought tea had a baseline decency. It's just boiled leaves or herbs, maybe fruit. It's not a complicated matter. To throw out this juxtaposition, I've made decent tea from pine needles.

I think MM should have a warning on it, it's that bad. I wish I could get more specific, too, but if someone forced me to lick dog poop, I doubt I'd stop to contemplate the subtleties of nastiness. If you're in the same boat, that makes you normal.

So that's it, a warning. It's not too much to ask. And in case you were wondering, the mom in the house loves the stuff. Like a hardcore fan, a warning would not deter her interest.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Standing Book Bids

I buy and sell books on It's very very easy. As a buyer, you are just a few clicks and a few days away from getting exactly what you want at your doorstep. As a seller, it takes a little bit more work (you have to log the books, print out invoices, and mail them to get the max amount of money), but it is still surprisingly easy.

But the way the current system is in place, sellers definitely do more work than buyers. What if this were reversed? What if Amazon encouraged buyers to choose a price that they would 100% buy a book at (similar to a fixed stock buy) and it fell on the sellers to peruse these potential buyers to see if the price was what they were hoping to get for their product?

If a buyer isn't in a hurry to get something, he/she might put out a lowball bid, say 20% of the asking price. It might take anywhere from a few days to a few years to find a seller willing to sell at that price, but it would be an equally balanced equation like the system that is in place right now.

As a seller, I've got tons of books unsold right now. When I was logging them, I would have been more than happy to consider offers on them. As it stands right now, I've already put in the work for the current system. So I wait.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Google Maps Options

I want to talk about Google Maps, but I want to use this Yahoo! Sites listing as a starting point. First, just take a look. In just a few seconds, you get an idea of the possibilities on Yahoo! I don't use 95% of these sites, but I know they're there. When I started using Yahoo! back in the mid to late 90s, I navigated to their gaming page in a different way. When this quick tool bar popped up, the process (even though it may have only taken a few seconds less) was made easier.

Google Maps, to be clear, is awesome. I use it all the time. In fact, I just went through a little tutorial about all the options on the Google sidebar in the upper right (the place where you can toggle between Earth and Satellite views) and learned that there is a crazy PHOTO OPTION that, once checked, overlays local photos onto every place on the planet. Yeah, think about it. In just a few moments, I saw locally taken pictures everywhere from Boston, Massachusetts, USA all the way down to freakin' Antarctica and everywhere in between. Amazing.

However, awesome things can be made better. In fact, in this digital age, I would say that the definition of awesome is fluid in large part because awesome keeps on getting redefined every five seconds.

So how does one make Google maps better? For one, I'm getting annoyed that I get different results in Google search and Google Maps. I understand it's no fault of Google if a company doesn't have an online presence, that is, if they don't register their company in the online databases. But as a consumer looking for all my options, I'm a little put out that it falls to me to cut and paste the information that a computer program would do much more efficiently.

That's one thing. The other relates to these options. Once most of the businesses are logged into the database, then what happens next is the inclusion of another toolbar. I'm tired of punching in "Restaurant near Boston, MA," even if the stupid thing guesses what I want before I finish typing it. I want control. I want options on the side of the map that allow me to click, say, three options: Restaurants which appear in red, Game Stores which appear in green, and Grocery Stores which appear in yellow. With these options overlaid on the map of my choosing, I can easily see which places I need to go to first, second, third. Plus, I might find a place to go to that I hadn't considered, a grocery store that's usually off my radar, for example.

That's pretty much it. Oh, and I really think the Bike directions leave a lot to be desired. I absolutely hate all the green lines that pop up when I switch to bike view. Look at this madness (shown above). It's crazy!