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July 2004

Home Automation at WWDC

If you're coming to Apple's World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco, clear a spot on your calendar for Wednesday evening. (June 30, 7:30PM-9:00PM)

I'm moderating O'Reilly's birds-of-a-feather session about Home Automation using Mac OS X. Come join your fellow Mac-heads for casual discussion and brainstorming about using Mac OS X to upgrade your house or apartment. I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

Senseo has Landed

Mark is wondering what sort of coffee maker he should get. Well, shortly after observing that ads for the new Senseo hint at its euphoric appeal, I decided to acquire one for myself. Here are my observations so far:

  • I'm not a big coffee guy, but it's darned good coffee. Much better than what you get out of drip, and to my taste buds, just as good as any "coffee of the day" you get at your typical cafe.

  • The industrial design is sexy and functional. While not quite as artistic as a G4 Cube or iMac, it definitely has a pleasing and functional presence. But art requires sacrifice, and I found that many of my coffee mugs won't work with the machine -- the spout is too low.

  • Clean-up is less messy than my previous machine, but it still involves removing a half-dozen parts. Easy and fast, but not as simple as some reviews might have you believe.

  • Hands-down, the Senseo is the easiest coffee maker to fill. The water reservoir is perfectly designed and gracefully fits into place. No pouring, no spills, and no measuring. For this alone I'm glad to get rid of my Cuisinart.

  • The best price I found was at Smart and Final. Only $59 with their discount card, plus you get the $10 mail-in rebate from Senseo.

  • Senseo likes to advertise that it's only 30 seconds to brew a cup of coffee. That's true, but only if the machine is already warmed up. Your first cup is going to take longer. You need 90 seconds to heat the water, then 30 seconds to blast out the first cup.

Wire puzzlers

Another fun discovery from the Sunnyvale Art Festival is Fiddl'Widdit -- makers of fine wire puzzles. They're handmade and nicely-finished, have a lot of exclusives that you won't find elsewhere, and feature a really nifty puzzle made from pieces of the Golden Gate Bridge. I have to admit that I don't have a lot of patience for these mind-benders, but a few close family members do, and I definitely appreciate a good mom-and-pop business.

Coffee, or more?

I'm not a huge coffee guy, but I'm a big fan of new technology, design, and convienance. So, the new-to-U.S. Senseo coffee system has a of appeal. Apparently it's huge in Europe, which bodes well for the availability of the special little "coffee pods" it uses to achieve its magic.

Besides, the people at the Senseo website seems to be either really enjoying their coffee, or their blithering idiots. I'm hoping it's the former.


Pleased to meet you, #41

I received a package from Garett-Wade and I was so pleased to see a wonderful, humane touch. The person who packaged my order clearly feels connected to the fruits of their labor. So much so that they personally apply a rubber stamp bearing their name. You can see it in the photo below -- "Packed with pride by #41". (Click the thumbnail for a larger view.)


Wow, sort of brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it? It really communicated to me, the customer, that this company is filled with real, happy people who are pleased to be held accountable for their proficiency in applying packing tape.