Archive for January, 2009

I’ve only had my TiVo for a few weeks, and for the most part I love the product. One thing puzzles me, though. What’s the deal with the ads they show at the bottom of the TiVo Central screen? First of all, the ads aren’t identified as paid or sponsored content; there’s a sort-of highlighted […]

In my experience, Chicago’s Midway airport is one of the best airports in the US. It’s big enough to have lots of flights (mainly on Southwest), but small enough that you don’t have to ride some hokey people-mover to get to your gate. And getting back and forth from downtown is a cinch, thanks to […]

While reading about a new mixed-use development in Chicago, I noticed an interesting statistic. The residential part of the complex was like 90% sold, but the commercial side seemed to only have one tenant. Even in a weak economy, this seems like a strange disconnect. If lots of people are already signed up to live […]

While shopping for a household cleaning product, I was shocked to see how dangerous most of the products are. According to their labels, the risks range from mild skin irritation up to “irreversible eye damage”. Ouch — these things sound more like what you’d find in a toxic waste dump than anything you’d bring into […]

From what I’ve seen and heard, Palm did an amazing job creating what might be the ultimate smart phone. Their new model, called the Pre, provides a user interface and web browser on par with the iPhone without the downsides. For me, this means having a user-replaceable battery and cut-and-paste. And they obviously planned out […]

Asking a customer to “calm down” is probably one of the worst things you can do. Think about it for a moment: if the person is genuinely pissed off, they’re going to view the request as condescending — an indication that you don’t understand why they’re upset. Similarly, if they’re already calm but you ask […]

Thankfully, I have never worked for a collections agency. But given the current economic climate, I’ve been party to more than one conversation where a customer owes a vendor some money. They’ve got the same sob story as everyone else, and want a few more weeks or months to pay up. The trouble is, this […]

Whenever I make certain types of changes to my investment account, the company sends me a written confirmation in the mail. (This happens despite my preference for email notifications — “for your security”, they assure me.) So I get a letter in the mail, no big deal. But this goes from curious to annoying when […]

Every day or so, I get a piece of spam from a site that I no longer use. Technically, I guess it’s not spam, since I did actually sign up for the site many months or even years ago, and I probably never turned off their email options. But here’s where it gets fishy: these […]

While waiting for a haircut over the weekend, I was subjected to the usual assortment of generic pop music on the in-store radio system. Interestingly, the salon just had the stereo tuned to a normal radio station; they weren’t playing Muzak or satellite radio. As each song came and went, I noticed a striking similarity […]