They all got on my bad side at some point, and I blogged about it (buy.com, 24 hour fitness, msn messenger, q-cup). No big deal I thought, but then I noticed something interesting: I was getting a lot of comments on those posts, and I kept getting them, even entries that were almost 2 years old.

So I looked at my referrer logs in StatCounter (a basic, but free web metrics service) and saw that a lot of people were getting to my blog from Google searches. Actually, 90% of my web traffic was coming from Google searches, so I did some investigation and here’ s what I found:

buy.com sucks

Whoa. Top placement on a Google search. That would explain why I’ve got 85 responses to my buy.com sucks entry. Check it out.

Turns out, I must have a bit of Google juice becuase I’ve got top placement for “24 hour fitness membership deals” and “MSN messenger memory leak” as well…

24hourfitnessmembership
MSNMessengerMemoryLeak

And my tirade against Q-cup a few weeks ago is on the first Google result page for “q-cup cupertino” as well. Not top placement, but not bad 🙂

q-cup

Something tells me these companies aren’t using blog search tools…

on Verizon’s Get it Now Business Tools section anyways 🙂

Plaxo Mobile Plus #1 seller in biz tools

If you’ve downloaded it and have tried it out, contact me and let me know how it’s going for you. We’re the #3 download overall:

Plaxo Mobile Plus in the top sellers

Zillow your house…

February 9, 2006

and your neighbor’s house… and your parent’s house… and your friends’ houses!

My old Microsoft officemate, Nate, quit last year and told me he was joining up at Zillow, a new startup funded by some of the original Expedia people. At the time, all he could tell me was that it was something to do with real estate and I didn’t think much of it. Well… it launched yesterday and all I have to say is: wow!

Since we started playing with it in the office, everyone has spent at least 20 minutes zillowing their house and any other houses they have addresses for. Sitting next to me, Dan has been zillowing Bill Gates’s house and Larry Ellison’s house; it’s a voyeur’s dream!

zillow

The place I’m currently renting is worth $750k (pretty much dead on I think) and the place I used to live in downtown San Francisco is appraised at $820k (also dead on given the recent selling prices of units in the same building). Which just highlights how ridiculous house prices are here in the Bay Area – and what a bargain renting is. If I bought my place, the mortgage would be $5000 / mo + $7500 a year in property taxes, but I currently pay only $2300 / mo in rent…

Last night at 106 miles, people were debating between whether to release early and often, or to go stealth and create a product that will wow the end-user. Well, score one for the stealth mode camp; IMO, Zillow delivered huge 🙂

roooomba!

February 7, 2006

Seattle 2.4.2006 025This past weekend, I went up to Seattle to visit Rose (and watch the Seahawks lose 😦 ). On Saturday, we went shopping at Bellevue Square (a large upscale shopping mall in Bellevue, WA) and Rose bought an iRobot Roomba Discovery. I was pretty skeptical about the Roomba; after all those advertisements for Dyson vacuum cleaners about how important suction is, I figured the Roomba wouldn’t be very effective at all. However, Rose was pretty sold on not having to vacuum anymore and I thought it looked like a fun toy, so she made it hers 🙂

Seattle 2.4.2006 027We got back to her apartment and while she was cooking dinner for me and some guests, I set up Roomba and let it charge up. After we finished dinner, we noticed the pulsing amber light had turned to solid green, announcing that Roomba was ready to rock. So with much anticipation, we hit the “Clean” button and stepped back…

do doo doo doooo! said Roomba and started cleaning. It wasn’t the smartest about choosing a path around the room, but it did pick up a ton of stuff. I wasn’t sure if it was psychological, but after Roomba was done, the room definitely looked much cleaner. Nice job Roomba! 😀

Now it makes me want to get one… must… resist…

HeaderI’ve always distrusted car dealers, and I’m sure many of you do too. But when I bought my 2004 Audi S4 this time, I actually ran into a few used car salesmen with integrity. Sound like an oxymoron? Not at Burlingame European.

First, their transparency. My car was being sold under consignment (the dealer is selling it on behalf of a private party) and as we went back and forth on the price, the salesperson pretty quickly gave me the sellers minimum requested price + a marginal $200 commission (which I was more than happy to pay).

Next, during the purchase process, the staff was actually very nice. The dealership is a family owned business and I was able to talk to a few of the people who worked there; all very nice people. They made me a bagel with cream cheese and some tea. Ask for Bart, Sam, or Al, they are all great to work with. Say hi to them for me; oh, and don’t worry, I’m not getting a single dime for this post or for any referrals – now if that’s not a sign of true customer satisfaction, I don’t know what is…

Finally, they made a $600 mistake. We got to the bottom of it and I see what happened; Bart quoted me a price, I repeated that price to Sam, who put it into the computer and then refigured it differently, and I got the car for $600 less than originally agreed upon. After we figured out the mess, they said to not worry about it. Because of the mix-up, they aren’t going to make any money on the transaction, but they just let it go because the contract was signed and they wanted the buying experience to be great at Burlingame. (Yes, legally they were screwed, but I’m sure they could’ve played some tricks if they wanted to. My financing hadn’t been processed, etc.)

I’ve been to a lot of car dealerships, all brands, in Michigan and Seattle, looking at all different types of cars (I’m kind of a car nut). I’ve never had a better experience than this past Wednesday. If I ever decide to buy another car, I’ll definitely be going back there.

Now, maybe I’m being taking for a ride and it’s all a show, but I don’t think so.

Open and transparent used car salesmen, but closed and censored blog conversations? I must be stuck in bizzaro world! 😀

Goodbye Celica, Hello S4!

December 22, 2005

Old and busted:

IMG_0005

The new hotness:

P1010031

This past Sunday, I finally got some motivation and posted my old 2001 Toyota Celica GT on Craig’s List. I wasn’t expecting much response, considering the holidays, but I got a ton of calls immediately. On Tuesday, someone came by and bought my car.

The problem was, I hadn’t actually procured another car yet… the buyer wanted to close the deal today (Thursday) so I basically had one day to find a new car. Fortunately, I already knew what I wanted, it was just a matter of getting all details sorted out.

So yesterday, I went to the dealer, test drove the new car, and worked through all the paperwork. End result: sold my 2001 Toyota Celica GT for $10500, and bought my new 2004 Audi S4 for $39500 out the door (~$36500 before taxes, etc.). Who wants a ride? 😉

Last week, I finally got fed up with my old Canon S400 (sunny outdoor pictures turn out great but the low light performance and speed is severely lacking) and I decided to check out the Panasonic Lumix FX9 based on some reviews I read. I ordered it last Friday from Onecall using their Free 3-day Fedex option and I actually got it today! Now that’s some seriously speedy service 😀

I’ve only been able to play with it for a little bit so far, but I’m liking it a lot. I took some test shots around the office in regular indoor lighting conditions and they turn out pretty good. A little bit noisy, but at least it’s not totally blurry. It’s smaller than I expected too (although it is still larger than the diminutive Casio Exilims or the Pentax Optios).

Unfortunately, I ordered a 1GB SD card from Newegg which doesn’t arrive until tomorrow 😦

I’m sure I’ll have photos over the holidays that I’ll be flickring up; I’ll post up more of a review after I’ve used the camera a bit.