Tuesday, January 24, 2012

a little perspective on the day to day problems

Just in case you have forgotten, you are a puff air living on a living mass orbiting a ball of fire.

The largest solar storm in seven years is about to pummel the earth. A Coronal Mass Ejection to be precise. 

John Matson reports

Last night the sun unleashed a flash of radiation called a solar flare, along with a generous belch of ionized matter that is now racing toward Earth at thousands of kilometers a second. The solar storm front from the ionized blast, called a coronal mass ejection (CME), should arrive tomorrow morning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The forecasters called the event the strongest solar storm since 2005.

When a solar storm hits Earth, the impact can have a number of consequences, especially in Earth orbit and at high latitudes, where the planet’s geomagnetic shielding is thin. Solar storms can knock out satellites, cause blackouts, and force aircraft to avoid polar routes. Storms can also bring the aurora borealis, a.k.a. the northern lights, down to unusually low latitudes. (You can see a slideshow of recent low-latitude auroras here.)

The SWPC is forecasting that the inbound storm will reach G2 (“moderate”) and possibly G3 (“strong”) levels on the geomagnetic storm scale, which tops out at G5. A G3 storm should not cause severe problems for satellite operators or power companies but could interrupt satellite-based navigation systems and some radio communications. Such storms can also produce auroras visible as far south as Illinois and Oregon, according to the SWPC.

Friday, January 20, 2012

the secret is not the sauce

Jennifer Overstreet explains Danny Meyer's restaurant wisdom.

“You can’t teach hospitality,” Danny said. “It means they’re someone who’s at their happiest when they’re making someone else feel good.”
Retailers today are all about the customer experience, but all the technologies and tools on the EXPO floor won’t help you win if you don’t have the right people and culture.
“For those who are looking for the most powerful differentiator in terms of creating an experience…you have to stock your store not just with the best stuff, but the people who live for making other people happy,” Meyer said.

It is as simple as that. It is about the experience and it is the people that create the experience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It is the experience.

Pete Seebach has a great idea for a restaurant.

There was some research a while back which found a possibly-surprising result. As most people probably suspect, the difference in perceived quality between wines does not really follow price very closely. But! It does follow stated price; if you serve the same wine to a lot of people, and tell some of them it’s $12 for a box and others it’s $400 for a bottle, the latter like it better. Better yet, they’re right — they really do enjoy it more. Thank you, MRI scans and the like.

This leads to a concept: A restaurant called Placebo. What do they sell? A 50% discount. Which is to say: The entire menu is framed with everything at about twice the price you’d otherwise expect to pay for it, but then your check gets a 50% discount. So say you have a steak roughly of the same quality as the $13 steaks at the Outback Steakhouse. The menu says $26, your bill when it arrives has a 50% discount. But everything you order feels expensive.
For extra credit, you could do interviews and arrange waiters to adopt personalities which suit the customers. Someone comes in who likes Good Wholesome Cooking? We can set you up with a waiter who thinks fancy food is ridiculous. Or, we can set you up with a waiter who is a total food snob, and you can have a wonderful meal knowing that the waiter is missing out on Good Wholesome Cooking. Your call
The basic idea here is… people aren’t going out to eat for the food, they’re going out for the experience. Why not sell the experience as-such as the product?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Variable menu pricing coming to a restaurant near you

The only thing that prevented variable pricing in the past was that the menu was hard copied. Airline ticket prices are not written down anywhere, they change moment to moment at the whim of some computer generated algorithm. Well iPad menus in restaurants is the delivery channel that will foster variable pricing in restaurants. The ability to change prices at 5:59pm and 9:01pm will enable restaurants some flexibility in driving traffic to specific times and will also allow for preferred customers to receive special discounts.

Great for the establishment, the million dollar question is how will the customer respond?  

Closeness of the sun

If the Sun appears a little bigger in the winter sky it is because we are as close as we ever hope to get to it. We now start to move farther away until July as we continue our journey around the Sun.. There are many times when our physical distance does not reflect our current position or level of understanding. Relative position is important however it is not the only variable in the any discussion.

Accorrding to space.com

If the sun appears a bit more intense than normal to you this week, you're not seeing things. The Earth has just made its closest approach to our nearest star for the year.
The orbital milestone is known as "perihelion," and it marks the time when the distance between the Earth and the sun is at its smallest. The event occurs every year in early January, and in 2012 it took place Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. EST (or Jan. 5 at 0100 GMT, depending on your time zone).
On average, the Earth orbits the sun at a distance of about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers). This distance is known as 1 astronomical unit (AU), and it serves as a yardstick for distances to other planets in our solar system. Mars, for example, is about 1.5 AU from the sun, while Jupiter is about 5.2 AU from the star.
But like the other planets in our solar system, the Earth's orbit is not a perfect circle. Instead, it is slightly elliptical — or oval-shaped — meaning it has a closest point to the sun (perihelion) and a farthest point (which is known as aphelion).