Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yarn, Tech, and a Blog

A couple of weeks back we were in Harrison, near White Plains, NY, helping a friend with her computers. On the way home the AG asked that we stop at a yarn store called KnittingNation in Nyack, NY. As always, we got a friendly reception and, as always, permission for me to take pictures.

Nyack is a nice town - really easy to get to (over the Tappan Zee bridge from NYC and the first right off the main road) - and a lot of neat shops and restaurants. To get to KnittingNation go down the main street until you get to Broadway, and take a left. It's on the left, opposite a tea shop rejoicing in the name of The Runcible Spoon, which may well be closed by the time you get back from seeing all that KnittingNation has to offer.

There's a big selection of yarn, books, tools, and accessories to browse through, and the owner (whom we met) is really friendly and knowledgeable.

The other customers that we met we friendly too, and there's a comfortable couch to sit on at the front - always a good sign.

So, in sum, going to KnittingNation looks like a good move. They have a long yarn list and they do courses and instruction for learners.

After we'd spent waay longer than we expected to at the LYS, we noticed a small Greek take-away on the way out of town. Two Greeks and a Gyro looks like a kind of Greek Burger king. However, once you get inside and meet the staff, and see the food, you'll realise that this is really a proper Greek restaurant with all the proper Greek attitudes to food and hospitality, just dressed up in early-21st century Americana!
Then you get your order and settle down to eat. WOW! You realise that you didn't really order all the things you wanted to order to try! You'll just have to back again. And again! And you probably will - it's that good.

In April last year Microsoft bought a company called Danger (a somewhat reckless name, one would think!). This company specialises on creating "premium software" for mobile devices (smartphones to you and I) to provide a "rich consumer experience", whatever that might mean. MS bought it just four months after it registered its first IPO. Obviously the guys at Redmond $aw $omething they liked the potential of.

Anyhow, T-Mobile got the software loaded up on their SideKick phones, which seemed like a cool idea. Then, as MS bought Danger, it suddenly became MS' responsibility to maintain all the back-end stuff that had been run by Danger. For example, all the messages, addresses, contacts, photos, etc. that are kept for use on a Sidekick device are stored on the servers so that the device in your hand doesn't have to be huge.

Fine - it all works great. Until it doesn't. In early October all the info vanished. MS have, reportedly, managed to get a lot of the data back (although how old it is is another question). You'll have noticed a few cynical remarks in the last link of MS' experience with the needs for backups; well, it appears that someone in MS might have placed a little too much confidence in the success of the immediate future.

The exec involved has a long career in MS' divisions handling Mac products and Entertainments products, which is fine, and I'm sure that she's a very good manager, but this looks like a really bad case of forgetting that a belt and braces strategy is usually safer then just winging it. In fact, if things actually happened as people are saying, then it would appear firstly that all caution was dropped, and then the department involved appears to be trying to cast the shadow of the problem on the other, non-MS, parties. Of course, being Sun and Oracle, they can be viewed as competitors .....

So, this can be viewed as a good example of the operations of Murphy's Law. It can also be looked on as an example of people trying to distract attention from their own shortcomings by casting aspersions on others. Oh yes. T-Mobile is giving its users a month's free use and $100 in compensation. For being their valuable customers. The trouble is that the users have probably lost far more in value than that. I wonder how many will be jumping ship real soon now!


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