An inelegant solution: Dunkin’ Donuts hash browns


The past couple of years, I’ve become one of those Dunkin’ Donuts fanatics. It started with a 99 cent iced tea special and has led to a multi-year loyalty to their tea, along with a bagel many mornings. That said, having spent some time in their stores, I’ve found myself analyzing what happens behind the scenes, and I’ve come to the conclusion that they have made a big mistake by placing an increasing emphasis on a low-priced menu option with high overhead: Hash browns. Continue reading

Turn off auto-play on Facebook’s videos


As Facebook continues its relentless march towards world domination, it continues to make decisions that will help it earn revenue, something that is at times at odds with what users would choose as their ideal experience.  One such decision is auto-play videos and their growing prominence in the newsfeed.  Fortunately, like with other settings that has led Facebook to catch some flack, there is a way to turn it off. Continue reading

Amazon Smile lets you support charities through your purchases


I’ve said it here on the blog a few times now: Amazon really seems to have its eye on making experiences superior for customers. Yet one of their more intriguing efforts is something I didn’t know about for nearly six months, until this week: Amazon Smile will donate a small percentage of the money you spend on qualifying items to the charity of your choice. Continue reading

Can using the right font save the government money?


Have you ever given thought to what fonts you use to print, and whether your choice of Comic Sans or Impact might lead to higher costs?  One teenager evaluated the costs of various inks and then applied it to the federal government’s spending, and determined that just by changing fonts the federal government alone could save more than $100 million a year. On ink. Continue reading

Licensing health exchange website tech for fun and profit


What happens when one government entity fails, but another succeeds? The one that succeeded could potentially benefit while at the same time helping others.  At least that’s the idea behind Connecticut offering to license its health exchange online offering as a service to other states, having worked out the kinks successfully and having above-average enrollment here in the Constitution State. Continue reading

Seeking the elegant solution: Support for all devices


While on a trip awhile back, I tripped across something that I thought was strange. When trying to connect to WiFi on a touchscreen device, it wouldn’t work.  It wasn’t because the device couldn’t connect to the actual access point – that’s happened before for various reasons.  This time, it was because the submit button for the terms and conditions wouldn’t respond to a touch on a touchscreen. Somehow, an entire class of devices were missed, render the WiFi useless in that case. Continue reading

Fighting subscription fatigue


It used to be, maybe 10-20 years ago, subscription fatigue was largely tied to magazine subscriptions.  So many magazines, asking for just a small amount per year, constant deliveries of publications that many didn’t end up reading.  It’s become much more insidious, however, as cort-cutting has led to a lot of “low cost” items that, in aggregate, can end up costing more than what it replaced. Continue reading

Seeking the elegant solution: Amazon reviews


A recent Amazon promotion for Kindle books piqued my interest: They put the first 15 stories in the famous Sue Grafton series on sale for $1.99 each.  Having seen them for years, and knowing they’d probably be in my wheelhouse, the investment to get going with the series was low enough to take the plunge. Continue reading

American Express reminds you of recurring charges when replacing your card


One of the more exciting parts about technology for me is the times when a very simple idea proves to be a great help or time saver. It’s something I strive for and teach people regularly at my job, as I think sometimes a very elegant solution implemented in the right spot, however simple it may be, can really bolster a person’s opinion of a business. Continue reading