Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 00 plus 10

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

A visit from St Nicholasby Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice, the conquest of the darkness by the light is complete. This morning there was a total lunar eclipse. 

A reason to celebrate, according to

The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.
The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.
On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight for those living north of the Tropic of Cancer. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

the ipad menu is going mainstream

The area of biggest concern to operators was that POS require so much back end support. The cloud and the ipad are changing that.

Alan Liddle offers this,

A growing number of operators, from independents to franchisees of major chains, are using Apple's iPad as part of their point-of-sale systems.
Restaurant operators recently shared how they've incorporated iPads into their ordering process, from arming servers with the handheld devices to installing them on the counter.
Configurations vary
iPad users are running the terminals in a variety of POS system configurations, including those centered around remotely hosted software running at so-called “cloud” data centers, to which store-level devices communicate via wireless Internet connections.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Same old, same old

Traversing the malls this weekend I was struck by the total homogeneous offerings. The lack of individuality is palpable. There is nothing exciting in the food offerings or the selection of store offerings. There was no scarcity, no reason to buy.

Things need to change quickly or the mall concept will become obsolete.  

No urgency to consume

Traversing the shopping malls this weekend, I noticed that there were people out however there was no urgency to consume.

Time to reflect on the what the numbers are telling us.

The morning dawn on Monday brings for most restaurants the end of the holiday party season. As you read this your accounting department is compiling the numbers. Did we generate enough top line revenue, did the margins hold, how much additional payroll did we incur, where there any unexpected cost, did we make a profit? Do we have enough to make it through winter? What are our customers telling us?

The morning dawn is a cruel taskmaster however a necessary one.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lessons from the flatwater

Walking on the Clark Street bridge over the Chicago River this morning I noticed the water below was smoking however remained ice free. Chicago has endured three weeks of temps under thirty two degrees. The reason the water remains ice free is because water holds heat energy. In simple terms, the temperature of the surface of water has remain above thirty two degrees because the surface has been using latent heat energy trapped within. The process continues until the energy is no longer sufficient to prevent ice on the surface.

This recession has much in common with this meandering flatwater as a lot of the reserves that have kept individuals from succumbing to the icy cold of the recession are being depleted. Unless the economy thaws quickly the phase transition will occur and individuals who have been barely holding on, will let go!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hot Oatmeal

On of the craziest trends in the food space has been the re-emergence of oatmeal. It is funny to see swank restaurants tout the fact that they serve hot oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal was your great grandfathers breakfast.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Complicated fonts lead to more comprehension

In you want your message to reach a deeper level of consciousness, try more complicated fonts.

Roger Dooley shares this,

A Princeton study compared student retention of course material presented in both a simple font and more complex fonts, and found that retention was significantly better for the complex font.
Why is this? It appears that the additional effort required to read the complex fonts (also called “disfluent” fonts) leads to deeper processing, and ultimately better recall. The simple font tested was Arial; the complicated ones were Comic Sans Italic, Monotype Corsiva, and Haettenschweiler.

Luck is a function of your network

Jessica Stillman peels back the layers of life to it's base element.

Partly, it was down to luck. Life is unpredictable. But luck aside, there was one big factor that made the difference: Stefan’s network came through for him, and yours didn’t. So if you want to get luckier, you’ll need to do what Stefan did, and build a better network. Which means — brace yourself — doing more networking.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A classic lesson in reframing the discussion

Mitch Ditkoff shares this lesson from a distraught vodka distributor

"What can we combine with Vodka to give it a distinctive taste and color?" 

They came up with tomato juice and, voila, the Bloody Mary was born. Sales? Through the roof.
What most of us think of as an "innovation" is really just the elegant combination of two (or more) pre-existing elements resulting in the creation of a new, value-added product or service.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How are you managing your most valuable employee

Seth explains,

your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself.
Odds are, you're doing it poorly.
If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you'd quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much as your time as you do, they'd fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.
I'm amazed at how often people choose to fail when they go out on their own or when they end up in one of those rare jobs that encourages one to set an agenda and manage themselves. Faced with the freedom to excel, they falter and hesitate and stall and ultimately punt.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The evolving coupon space

Kristen Burnham reports on the developments in Groupon

Groupon Stores will let businesses create and launch their own deals whenever they want and as frequently as they want, without waiting several months to be featured as the deal of the day.
Merchants that claim their store, which Groupon says only takes a couple minutes, will have their deals promoted via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook. There's no upfront fee, and business will receive 70 percent of each promoted Groupon sold, and 90 percent of each non-promoted Groupon. (This differs from being featured as Groupon's Deal of the Day, in which merchants only receive 50 percent of each Groupon sold.)