Tag Archives: starbucks

Would You Go to an Internet Cafe?

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I was recently asked if I thought Internet cafes are a thing of the past. I really hate when people go around declaring something is going to die or become obsolete. You may not see a need for a particular thing or place any longer, but does that mean it doesn’t serve a purpose for others?

Just when someone comes along and declares something as dead, it doesn’t really die. What are the chances we will never need to socialize with another human being? Granted, I don’t often go outside and interact with people that way. Thank God for social media outlets.

I don’t think Internet cafes, as such, are going to die out. People are always going to want to use an Internet connection. Perhaps their connection at home will go out (God forbid!!). Maybe they don’t have a connection of their own at all. What if their computer breaks? Why not go and get a cuppa Joe at an Internet cafe?

Seriously, folks. Stop trying to push your own thoughts off on the rest of us by trying to declare something as dead.

Free WiFi Rolls Out at Starbucks

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood when you can sip your favorite coffee drink while surfing the Internet for free. Starbucks rolled out their free WiFi access across the US and Canada today, much to the relief of millions of caffeine-powered Geeks. Grab your phone or laptop and head over to the store nearest you. You can sip those Frappuccinos while replying to everything in your Inbox.

Best of all, there’s nothing to sign up for. You don’t need a password, and there are no time limits. As shown in the photo above, you only have to click twice to get online: once to agree to the Terms of Service and again to actually connect. You won’t be locked out (or thrown out) after an hour. You don’t have to come up with yet another fifty-character super-secret password. Just click twice… and go.

Starbucks claims that they feel no one will spend more time languishing over their laptops and drinks than they did before. I have a feeling they are very, very wrong in that assumption. I can already see the work-at-home sector dragging their gear to their local coffee joint and setting up shop at a corner table for an entire day. What better way to make connections, observe others, see and be seen and manage to look as though you are doing something productive is there?

Starbucks or Bust?

I can’t say I’m all that surprised about Starbucks closing 600 stores – given that we have fourteen stores within a two block radius of our house. You can’t turn your head in a modern city without seeing at least one Starbucks sign. It’s always depressing to hear that someone has lost their job, but aren’t there other neighborhood coffee shops in dire need of a good barista or two? Assuming, of course, that one has the skill set required to brew.

It’s no secret: I’m not a huge Starbucks fan (I’m a Peet’s man, through and through). Still, I wondered what my friends thought of the news:

Peet's is infinitely better, anyway. 🙂 In other news, Starbucks leaves 54,230,918 stores open. – Me

Agreed. Starbucks is not particularly good coffee, as far as I am concerned. But obviously there are may that don't agree with me… – Pascal Sijen

Too bad we don't have Peets in Maryland – Aaron Brazell

There go 600 free iPhone hot spots (with a Starbucks card of course) – Steve Pribut

I don't really see that as a problem. I'm surprised they aren't closing more. I like their coffee, but there are just too many of their stores. – Eric Truman

Love Peets. There are 2 Starbucks in my town within 5 blocks. Overkill. – Chris

I've always thought Starbuck's coffee tastes cheap and over-roasted. A couple months back, they began retraining their baristas and upgrading their quality across the board. That's probably the right move. They're being flanked on all sides and can't become a discount brand. – Chris Baskind

it's about time. reminds me of: New Starbucks Opens In Rest Room Of Existing Starbucks http://tinyurl.com/cbrzdSean Savage

+23 for Peet's. Major Dickason addiction. – AJ Kohn

I've always preferred Seattle Drip to Starbucks. (no idea how widespred "the drip" is.) – Tim

i wonder if i should apply to a starbucks… maybe not… – Justin

I'm not a fan of their over-burnt beans but I've been forced to consume their version of coffee since they crushed all of my local independent coffee houses. Crazy, there are four Starbucks locations within an eighth mile of each other a few blocks from my house. – Glenn Batuyong

the only thing I drink at Starbucks is the Chai Tea Latte. That's it. – Chris Cavs

Hmmm, Starbucks makes the best coffee in Australia. Maybe Peet's should consider coming here! – Toastpaint

Just about the only thing I ever learned to tolerate at Starbucks was a double shot of espresso. I’m sure you have your own “Starbucks drink” – and you even have the proper order of the words memorized, too.

Wireless Internet is Everywhere

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During a discussion about Broadband and people near Seattle having trouble with Comcast, Rikai from our chat room brought up an interesting question. “What are your thoughts on the rumors of the 700Mhz spectrum potentially being used for Hi-Speed Wireless connections?”

I’m sure you’ve all heard the news lately about how Starbucks is now offering free WiFi to their customers. I’m not going to comment on their coffee… but who would turn down some free Internet service? Make sure you use https:// when doing things from open Wi-Fi like checking your email. This makes you much more secure.

Wireless Internet is just everywhere. You can’t walk more than 20 feet in an urban area without finding an open connection. The problem with a lot of Tel-Co’s is that they want you to experience their version of a wireless Internet. That’s crazy. It’s the Internet, right? For now… we don’t have much choice other than to stick with just one provider. Some people don’t have access to faster Broadband… yet. Internet is essential these days. One of these days… mark my words… the world of the Internet is going to be blown wide open, as far as choices.

Just imagine if Wireless Internet truly was available everywhere, much like Television. Throw up a TV antenna… you have tv. Throw up an Internet antenna… you get the picture. Someday, it will happen.


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Should Wi-Fi be Free?

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When Starbucks introduced for-pay Wi-Fi in 2002, it seemed like a great deal. But five years later, the model appears old and stale and ready for a complete overhaul.

According to my friend Mike Elgan at ComputerWorld.com, Starbucks will begin providing their customers with free Wi-Fi within the next year. This is an excellent development. I believe we shouldn’t have to pay for wireless access points, and I bet you don’t, either.

As you know, Wi-Fi is widely available. It’s no longer some new-fangled fad… and paying for it has become rather antiquated. The problem is, free doesn’t always mean secure. Thankfully, there are programs such as Hamachi to keep you safe. Hamachi is a free program that allows you to create your own Virtual Private Network, or VPN.

Any time I am out and about, I rely on jiwire.com to point me towards any hot spots in the area. Simply input your country, state and city, and the site will give you a list of all locations (including addresses and phone numbers) who have Wi-Fi available for you.

iStumbler for Mac OSX is an amazing tool. iStumbler is the leading wireless discovery tool for Mac OS X, providing plug-ins for finding AirPort networks, Bluetooth devices, and Bonjour services with your Mac.

If you want to hear all about my experience being tazered and almost going to jail over Wi-Fi… you’ll just have to watch this video.

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Crashing Into Starbucks

http://live.pirillo.com/ – Chris lost over $100 (in fact, it ended up being a $500 deductable), here’s how:

It’s early in the morning when Chris & Ponzi are running late to shooting The Lab with LeoLaporte. Unfortunately they don’t have time to go to Peet’s, so they go to Starbucks.

Chris, half asleep and blinded by rage, decided to attack the Starbucks … with his car. He smashed the front of his car into a wrought iron chair.

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Coffee Snobs

Dude. I just can’t stay off the juice! Last night, I was compelled to write about my experiences with the Tassimo machine (a wedding gift from Andru and Monica Edwards). Ponzi put it on our wish list – but I really wish the machine did more. Judging from the comments we’re getting, others do as well. Consider Pastor Scott Holder’s note to me a few minutes ago:

I consider myself somewhat of a coffee aficionado, and can fully relate to your comments on either automatic or perfect coffee brewers. Like you, I graduated from the Mr. Coffee era many years ago. I have brewed it, perked it, boiled, nuked it, steamed it, etc. Currently we have a professional espresso machine (it still makes the best espresso), 3 Senseo machines (1 for each: home, work, church), 2 regular brewing systems, and our recently added Tassimo Ultra. I wasn’t really interested in this machine, but my wife has become a kitchen-gadget person of sorts so we bought it. With our local SAMS Club having two on display it was too good a deal to pass up (less than half price).

I must say that the limit on coffee varieties is still somewhat perplexing. Surely there will be more forthcoming. However, I have found that Seattle’s Best does offer a couple of varieties that are worth mentioning. I like dark roast coffee so I have settled on Henry’s Blend as a good choice. Surprisingly, the Maxwell House French Roast is fairly nice, considering I can’t stand Maxwell House coffee. The Gevalia Signature Crema Coffee has a good flavor, but not as well-rounded as the Seattle’s Best. I have also tried the Mastro Lorenzo Crema and found it to be acceptable in taste.

I’m more of an espresso drinker and do like both the Gevalia Espresso and the Mastro Lorenzo Espresso. Both put a nice crema on top and have a rich, bold, almost citrus flavor to them. I’m venturing into the teas as I write this and have found Earl Grey, Green Tea (late in the day), and Tazo Awake Black Tea to all be nice options. Each has a very distinct flavor all its own. I do hope that more flavors and/or varieties will become available in the near future. I follow trends through SingleServeCoffee and also SingleServeEspresso. Both offer a wealth of information about coffee/espresso brewing and news. At singleservecoffee.com, I see non-USA sites with other options for the Tassimo and will probably try some – especially the latte and espresso offerings from Kenco. There are also a couple of different tea varieties not available in the USA that I want to try.

On the flip side, I do know that the Yuban Rain Forest Alliance Coffee is the nastiest-tasting coffee I’ve ever tried. I don’t want another cup of that stuff ever. While writing this email I noticed that Keurig is suing Tassimo over the piercing technology. It’s crazy that this kind of thing is going on. I really hope we don’t lose out after making this investment.

By the way (and this is just a pet peeve of mine): it’s pronounced “espresso” – not “eXpresso.”

Free WiFi in Silicon Valley?

Jake and I are “stuck” in San Jose today – our flight back to Seattle isn’t until 9pm tonight (unless it gets pushed back further due to today’s British thwarting). We’re going to get kicked out of our hotel room any minute now, and will need to seek shelter this afternoon. I’d rather not sit in a Starbucks for hours on end, but unless we can identify a place in San Jose (Mountain View, Cupertino) where free WiFi is available, I don’t know if we have much of a choice. I’d rather not pay for WiFi when I know wireless Internet access is free elsewhere. I’ll be checking email through my phone, so feel free to comment if you know of a great place for us to land (so to speak).

UPDATE: Looks like we’ll be on Microsoft’s campus this afternoon, after lunch – hanging with Joel Schonbrunn. If there are any other ‘softies down here, we’ll be happy to say hello! Has Niall checked out yet?