Outsource Your Order?

I’m not sure I understand this.

In an effort to reduce costs and speed up drive-thru times, fast food restaurants are looking at some, well, interesting methods. One is to monitor the food on hand with the queue, and make educated guesses as to what will be ordered. But more interestingly, some restaurants are looking at using call centers for taking their orders. From CNN:

…some stores are using central call centers rather than cashiers in the restaurant to take orders from drive-thru customers.

Now it doesn’t say where these call centers are located, but whenever I think of call centers, I think of India. So following my (likely flawed) logic, if I want to order something at McDonalds, I might end up talking to someone in India. And in their best-effort-but-still-really-bad English, they’ll ask if I want fries with that. I’m really having a hard time understanding how this would really save any money. Someone still has to be there to collect your money and give you your food.

What am I missing?

Julia Photos

Two Weeks

So we’re getting into that home stretch here. Sharon’s due date is only a couple weeks away, and she could into labor at any time now. I’ve taken some pictures of Sharon’s progression.

27 weeks 27 weeks, side 27 weeks, side
36 weeks 36 weeks, side 36 weeks, front
38 weeks 38 weeks, side 38 weeks, front

Sharon has also taken a poll of about 40 people at work to see when they think Sharon will have the baby, how much the baby will weigh, and if the baby is a boy or girl. The average guess is that she will have the baby on February 10, and the baby will be about 7 and a half pounds. It was just about 50/50 on boy or girl. Our doctor is guessing 8 pounds, and the due date all along has been February 11.


Stewie’s Own Show

It figures that after my latest rant on what I don’t like about TV, Stewie from Family Guy (one of my favorite shows) will be hosting his own show. Now Stewie isn’t the first animated character to get a talk show; I know Space Ghost had his own show, Space Ghost Coast to Coast. I had the chance to watch that quite a few times while in school and just loved it. The interviews were pretty funny, and it was just off the wall. I had never seen the original, so I’m sure I’m missing a lot of the inside jokes.

Of course, Stewie’s show won’t be on TV, but online. I guess it will make a nice podcast.

Kitty Photos

Princess Fiona Pictures

My last few posts have been a bit on the serious side (well, except for TV), so I’ve decided to lighten it up a bit. Sharon brought it to my attention that I haven’t written anything about Princess Fiona since October.

The kitty has been doing well, and hasn’t really been up to anything. She is still as vicious as ever, but to be honest, we do provoke that kind of behavior. So here’s a couple pictures of the kitty, sitting in a box (one of her favorite pasttimes) and jumping out of the crib.

Kitty in box 3 Kitty jumping from crib

Of course, there’s more pictures on her section of the photo gallery.


What’s Wrong With TV

I don’t particularly like TV. There are a few shows on TV that I do like. One of them is Arrested Development. It’s funny and witty. The different lines converge at the end of the episode, in similar fashion to Seinfeld. But for some reason, Fox has decided to cancel the show. Thankfully, there is a petition to show disagreement with that decision.

To top that decision to cancel the show, it has been replaced with Skating with Celebrities. An Emmy-award winning show has been replaced with a reality show. But not just any reality show. A rip-off of a reality show on ABC. Take out dancing, make it skating, and you’ve got a brand new show.

What ever happened to letting a comedy, or any show for that matter, develop? I would think that if a show was good enough to win an Emmy, people will eventually discover it. I admit, I didn’t get into the show until the end of the first season.

On a side note, I watched American Idol for the first time tonight. It was from Greensboro, so I felt a kind of obligation to watch it. The show was absolutely awful. People singing in front of the judges, desparate for their approval, only to get their hopes crushed. This is what people watch for weeks on end? I’ll read a book any day.


Kill the Broadcast Flag!

The RIAA and MPAA are at it again. The Senate has introduced legislation to basically control all digital media. Any digital media will have a “broadcast flag,” and the FCC will have to certify all new digital devices, like TVs, iPods, PSPs, DVD recorders, etc… Boing Boing has an excellent synopsis of the whole situation. Please contact your Senator and let them what you think.

If this is passed, we will suffer. It will more difficult (if not impossible) to use the content we purchase fairly. Technology companies will suffer, because they will have to go through the FCC to make new products.

Who won’t suffer? The RIAA and MPAA, of course. But will the artists they represent be better off? I’m not so sure. Some CDs have gotten so restrictive that they don’t allow you to rip them to your iPod. If these industies are going to treat me like this, I’ll take my business elsewhere. Other industries learn to innovate with new technologies; they can too.

Even if this law is passed, piracy won’t just disappear. If someone is determined to break copy protection, they are going to. The rest of us will just have more headaches and restrictions to deal with.


Jumping on the Bandwagon

Well, it’s that time of year again. With only four teams left in the NFL playoffs, folks that were never fans of certain teams all of a sudden long time fans. It happens every year.

When the Colts lost to the Steelers, lot of people came out of the woodwork saying how they always knew that the Steelers would win the game. I never knew them to be fans, but all of a sudden, here they are.

So with only four teams left, who’s your “team”? I don’t particuarly care now, but I’m following the Panthers. You know, support the home team.


Two-Tiered Internet?

BellSouth is in negotiations with content providers to charge them to “preferential” routing to their customers. Basically, it’s extortion. You pay me, I’ll make sure your content gets where it needs to go. You don’t pay me, well, your content will get where it needs to go. Eventually. As the CEO of Verizon says, “We need to pay for the pipe.” Excuse me, the customers pay for the pipe. You advertise I can download movies and music and pictures at lightning speed, but don’t want to hold up your end of the bargain and actually provide content you don’t own.

In a nutshell, BellSouth (and other telco and cable companies) want to charge their customers for Internet access and charge companies for providing the content. I pay to go online, and I also pay for hosting this website. If you ask me, this feels like some unfair competition. I can only hope that the government will see this for what it is and not allow it to happen.

(On a side note, I use Lunarpages, and get 400 GB transfer for $7.95/month. If I were to pay similar rates for Roadrunner ($45/month, I would get over 2 TB transfer. Lunarpages has been fantastic these last couple years. I’ll be more than happy to refer you if you’re interested in hosting your own site.)

But wait! Our government is run by special interests. Those who have the money get to decide what happens around here. Who cares about the little guy?


Four Weeks to Go!

Four weeks until Sharon’s due date guessed by the doctors, that is. Of course, we all know that the baby will be born during the Super Bowl, where, of course, the Colts (one of Sharon’s teams, Cleveland is the other one) will be playing.

The baby has been quite active lately, and is really making Sharon’s life difficult. About a week ago, she could not fall asleep for over two hours, because the baby thought it was a wonderful time to have a dance contest.

So when do you think the baby will be born? Make it known in the comments below, and the closest to the date will win a piece of junk lovely prize.

Gadgets Photos

The beginning of the end for film cameras

I knew this day would eventually come. Nikon will be phasing out most of their film camera line. A high end camera and a lower end camera.

I’m a Canon man myself, and I use film, so this announcement doesn’t immediately affect me. But it wouldn’t surprise me to see Canon eventually follow suit and start to phase out their film line as well. I prefer my film camera to my digital, but my digital camera isn’t that good. I like to have the total manual control of my Canon Rebel.

Eventually, I would like to get a digital Canon Rebel, but I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of my film camera. There’s something refreshing to hear the shutter click and the film advance.