September 21, 2007
Living on a Hill in San Francisco
I live on one of those hills in San Francisco. You know the kind; the ones that you read about in novels or have seen in movies. My 'hill' is the kind that you climb (in a car or on foot - it feels the same). When you come down the other side, you have this feeling you nearly mouth out loud in the moment, 'thank god I had a light lunch.'
I guess I'm no longer a newbie here and yet, I still get excited by the dips and the highs and am always aware of and grateful of the fact that I'm here -- for now, for however long my stint in this remarkable city may be.
So, I've had a few 'hill experiences' that have nothing to do with physicality. Not really.
I'm a Comcast user as I'm sure many of you are. Here's what living on a hill - a high San Francisco hill that is - gives you.
Most definitely a view. The view, the view, the view. Yes, yes, yes. And also:
Comcast man: What seems to be the problem?
Me: Connection. It's not as fast as it should be, nor as fast as everyone I know who subscribes to a DSL or cable internet access service. What's odd is that it appears to be worse when its raining or the weather isn't great.
Comcast man: Could be where you live in the city?
Me: What do you mean? This area doesn't support fast Internet access? Living in this neighborhood means I'm out of luck?
Comcast man: Not necessarily this specific area, but it could be. You live on a hill.
Yeah, I live on a hill and great Internet access has to do with living on a hill?
When I start to roam with my landline cordless, it gets spotty. Comcast man #7 comes for a visit .
Comcast man: What seems to be the problem?
Me: Well, when I leave my home office, or travel a mere two feet from the phone base, people say I sound like I'm in China? (meaning remote access but more -- remote access combined with an ocean crashing in the background with a little static on the top of it. Kind of like my grandparents line in the country in the early 1970s).
They try to come up with a solution, suggesting that perhaps if I didn't have a router, I'd be all set.
Me: "Hmmm, so I can't have Wifi AND use a landline phone at the same time? In the same house?"
Comcast man: Could be the location.
Me: Don't tell me. It's because I live in a hill?
No response. Pause. Still no response. "Because I live on a hill?" I repeat. It gets worse.
The toilet. It's been replaced and is performing much better than it did before. The old toilet simply wouldn't flush at the best of times but thankfully it didn't have to do with the weather like it does with my phone service and Internet access. Because I live on a hill of course.
One more thing. When I go away on a business trip or sometimes when I'm away only a mere day or two, I find dust on my windowsill. Why? Because I live on a hill of course. There must be an Earthquake Comcast rep to verify this.
Me thinks that perhaps San Francisco has a few more earthquake tremors than it says it does -- in other words, a minor one or two perhaps, every day. So minor that perhaps we notice nothing more than dust on our windowsill? Especially if we live on a hill.
September 06, 2007
Product Manager Laughs
Check out today's David Pogue column in the New York Times for a very amusing tale of product managers (P.M.'s) as he puts them, gatekeepers to engineers in the same way P.R. execs are to P.M.'s.
August 24, 2007
Who Needs Monty Python?
If you're planning a trip to London anytime soon, you'll be thrilled to learn that you can visit the Leg 'of Mutton Wildlife Reserve on the banks of the Thames.
August 10, 2007
Bathroom Fans: UGGGH
What do you think of when you walk into a hotel bathroom, switch the light on and the fan starts automatically, meaning that its linked to the one and only light and you are forced to hear its noisy motor running whether you want to or not?
I think of Motel 8 and every hotel like it in its category. Hey, Motel 8 is great and I've camped in one more than once, especially on those long across country hauls. But I'd expect more from a so-called higher-end hotel.
I'm at the Hotel Max in Seattle which prides itself as the most artistic hotel in downtown Seattle. And yes, they have automatic fans with no option to turn them off if the light is on. Cheeezy...given that they are trying to be hip and higher end, the designer who went for that choice made a big mistake.
Their behind-the-counter staff needs a little coaching about customer service however I have to admit, the AM manager turned around a smoking room screw-up on a dime and with grace. Smart PR move on his part.
The hallways and rooms have the feel of a W, Paramount or similar-like hotel property, meaning the rooms are small but modern, the soaps say body and face in big white letters on matted black paper, and the housecleaning/do not disturb signs say Yup and Nope. This one tries to be hip at $240 a night, which I thought was high for Seattle.
The cool parts? They give you a cozy duvet, tons of white plush pillows, and the doors are plastered with black and white shots from established Seattle artists and photographers.