Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

So, tell me about yourself

Here’s a tip to restaurants. If you feel the need to have a Web site, keep it updated and put information on it that potential customers may want to know. This proves to be quite helpful if you’re making dinner arrangements and want to make sure everyone in your dinner party is cool with the options available.

Here are a few additional suggestions for your consideration:

If you’ve been open for more than say, two months, having a site that says “coming soon” doesn’t cut it. (I’m looking in your direction Green Dragon.)

And if you’re a new restaurant, don’t aim so high that you go live with a near-empty site. I understand you’re spending time prepping the menu and getting things just right. Thus, stick with a one page site that gives some basic details and then build up from there.

Case in point, Tondero, a new restaurant that opened downtown. If you click on “Bar,” for example, you’ll find…nothing. Not one word of content. In fact, if you look around the site, you won’t find menus or any details about the food they serve outside the “South American/Latin/Caribbean” banner.

Finally, if your site does not work in my browser (Firefox) or makes it crash, I will be that much more hesitant to visit your establishment because I’ll likely find something else wrong once I arrive.

To recap, keep the site simple, keep it updated, and keep it compatible.

Apple of my eye

Local Phil Knight owned animation studio Laika is getting some attention for their Christmas animation that appears on Apple computer’s website. It features a Rankin and Bass like animated versions of the “hello I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” guys, as well as the one and only Santa Claus. At my part time gig Laika employees are often rushing in to buy external hard drives in a panic (side props to them for shopping locally) so it’s fun to see their efforts paying off. Given that St. Jobs himself is a former Reedie, it’s cool to see another local tie between Portland and my favorite computer company.

Should they pay more attention to the Web?

In a recent entry on Gawker, the question of “why won’t alt-weeklies try to win on the Internet?” was raised. In their example, they compared the Web traffic of the Washington Post‘s site against that of Washington City Paper‘s site. Granted, the Washington Post, and the New York Times for that matter, are internationally-recognized papers and I doubt anyone thinks the alt-weekly papers in those cities would be able to compete head-on.

However, if you look at versus the online versions of Willamette Week and the Portland Mercury, you’ll see that statistic holds true here as well.

Multnomah Co. Library offers TV/movie download service

This week, the Multnomah County Library announced that it will now offer the MyLibraryDV service, which provides library patrons free, on-demand access to movies and television programs via computer download.

Of course, there are some disclaimers to go along with this new service. For one, it’s is only available to computers running Windows 2000 or Windows XP. The service is definitely not something to attempt if you’re on dial-up, and you’ll need to ensure you have enough space, at least 1GB, on your hard drive to store the programs downloaded. Any movies downloaded through the service will be deleted automatically after seven days.

Looking at the list of TV shows and movies currently available, it doesn’t make me want to clear off any of my music to make room for a temporary download. I think I’ll stick to borrowing DVDs from the library for now.

That said, maybe you’re interested in checking out a cooking program that you missed on PBS or want to watch Birth of a Nation without your neighbors knowing. Just be sure any library fines are paid and then you’ll be free to download!

Layer Tennis: Portland Edition

I’ve been following the weekly rounds of layer tennis, put on by Coudal Partners, for a while now. Two designers swap a file back and forth in real-time, while a writer provides a healthy dose of commentary on each volley. Tension builds, smack is layed down, and in the end the viewers choose a winner.

This week, the action hits close to home with two Portland designers stepping onto the court. Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. faces David Nakamoto of Multifresh with commentary by Steven Heller (!!). The match goes down tomorrow (that’s Friday) at high noon (Portland time). Tune in then, or check it out early for Heller’s match preview.

Why I’m thankful for free wi-fi at PDX

I started writing this entry at the Tulsa International Airport on my way home from a business trip. When I powered up my laptop, I had my fingers crossed that I would be able to find free wi-fi to check my e-mail accounts before boarding my flight.

Alas, the only working wi-fi in range belonged to the airport and there was a fee attached. That’s when I became thankful for the free wi-fi available to passengers at PDX.

Over the past several months, I’ve traveled through many airports and there’s always a fee attached to logging on. I suppose I should be used to it by now but it’s still a shame that businessfolks and tourists alike aren’t able to connect for free considering we’re paying through the nose on food and beverages post-security check-in since the airlines cut those “perks” down to a 2oz bag of pretzels and a cup of soda.

While it may not seem like a big deal, those fees add up and considering I’m only in the airport for maybe two hours, usually less, paying $10 is a lot given the inability to transfer the remaining time/credit over to another airport or location. There’s also the assorted connection fees hotels charge for using their wi-fi.

Sure, I get reimbursed for these expenses, but I’m lucky as I’m sure most folks have to eat these costs as the price of doing business. Thus, the question becomes, can I wait to check my e-mail, or do I pull out my credit card?

Breakfast Map!

breakfastmap.pngLooking for the perfect place for breakfast in Portland? Somewhere that’s not a chain, serves hot food, and treats you right? Well, cap’n blog and salty (my new favorite pdx food blog) is here to help with an update to their Breakfast in Stumptown map. (It’s also available full screen.)

It’s got pretty decent coverage on both sides of the river and little personal comments about most places. I have a feeling this will come in very useful the next time I’m searching for morningfood. (In fact, it might even be useful enough for me to forgive the use of Comic Sans)

Meet pdxstump

Less is more. Simple is simply wonderful. Terse, actionable information.

This is the driving philosophy behind pdxstump, a Portland-centric search and information site.

I just came across it and I’m still getting lost in the details. In a world of broad search tools, pdxstump uses a tagged directory to find (and map!) locally relevant information.

There’s also a quick, but informative weather overview (try moving your mouse over some numbers) and a very thorough news aggregator.

A Quick and Beardy Follow-Up

Last week, Nino brought us news of Mayor Potter’s new beard and the insuing media kerfuffle. What does the beard mean? Will the beard stay? What do the voters think? Questions were asked, gossip was flung, and now, it appears, we have answers.

Quoth the Potter: “I’m going to keep it for a little while.”

Connect the data stream?

Wobbly Wi-Fi strives for stability

The city’s wireless network’s been plagued with technical difficulties and iffy finances

City’s Chief Technology Officer Takes LA Position

Lampe has been with the City for close to five years and was instrumental in launching several key initiatives including: PortlandOnline, the City’s municipal website, which has received awards each year from the Center for Digital Government; Unwire Portland (emphasis mine); and the Public Safety Systems Revitalization Project, a multi-jurisdictional effort to upgrade and replace regional safety systems.

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