Never Rest

I like Walmart. (There: I said it!) I do a lot of shopping there. Nobody else stocks some of the things I want, and when I get them at Walmart, I know the price won’t be lower anywhere else.

I also like Amazon. But from this article, I’m guessing that Walmart doesn’t.

The country’s largest retailer, which for years didn’t blink at would-be competitors, is now under such a threat from Amazon that it is frantically playing catch-up by learning the technology business, including starting @WalmartLabs at Walmart Global E-Commerce, its dot-com division.

Walmart is right to be concerned about how to have an effective online business. (Walmart.com is to Amazon.com as Walmart is to Nordstroms.)

Still, it’s interesting to see a company that’s trying to catch up instead of just flailing helplessly.

The lesson: never give up, never surrender. Never rest on your laurels. The beauty of the capitalist system is that it rewards the Amazon’s of the world that take on the Walmarts and beat them, not by complaining, but by delivering superior value.

Still Waiting for the Kindle

Well, I won’t get my Kindle Touch until Monday, but at least now that the Fire reviews have all posted, people are beginning to talk about the Touch:

Awkward delays arise, and repainting of the e-Ink screen sometimes lags. But, overall, the experience is quite good and, in some situations, noticeably better than using the previous iteration’s buttons. This is especially true of picking items from lists or selecting text in specific areas of the screen—touch, even on a screen that isn’t especially responsive, is simply much faster than navigating via repeated button presses.

Also this: “But if your focus is on reading, I would actually recommend the bottom of the line model. It’s lighter and more comfortable to hold in one hand, and the touch screen doesn’t really make the page turning experience that much better.”

Where’s My Kindle?!?

So I got a new Kindle Touch for my birthday last month. Except I didn’t actually get it. I just got a promise it would eventually arrive someday Real Soon Now.

That’s okay. I can cope with delayed gratification. Except when suddenly everybody and their uncle is posting reviews of the Kindle Fire. Now I demand to know why the more exotic Kindles shipped before mine!

Two Bad Cars

At Taco Bell today, a real side-by-side comparison of two hot cars: some loser’s Boxster and my own bad Acura Integra. Behold:

Two Hot Cars

What were they doing at Taco Bell? Slumming?

Black Friday – Mac Office 2011

I’ve been trying to decide whether to upgrade my old copy of Office.

The problem with Office is that I only use Word. I’ve pretty much switched from Excel to Numbers, and Keynote is so good that it’s been years since I even thought about running Powerpoint.

So why upgrade? Well, I do use Word a great deal. And Word 2008 is so slow that I routinely type ahead of it (e.g., when applying different styles to two paragraphs) and get it confused. That’s when it’s running. But it’s so ridiculously slow to load, I always leave it running. Supposedly, it’s faster now, especially launching. (Opening .DOCX files is faster, but I never use those. I would, if the Antiword folks would support them, but I’m content to stick with .DOC until, well, forever.)

So should I upgrade? Probably. It’s not a slam dunk, but with these newly-announced Black Friday prices I can probably talk myself into it.

Three Things I Like

The first thing is a song called “Turkish Delight,” by the David Crowder Band. It’s a disco song straight out of the 1970s, and you can find it on the record Music Inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia. But you can’t find it on Amazon. It seems to be available only on the iTunes Store.

The second thing is the movie Shakespeare in Love. Joseph Fiennes stars as Shakespeare, and Gwyneth Paltrow won an Academy Award as the love he was in. (Ahem.) There was enough skin and bawdy talk to merit its R rating, I suppose, but only just barely. I’ve never been a great fan of the Bard, but this movie made me wish I was.

The third thing is the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. I liked it so much, I actually posted my first-ever review of a book on Amazon.com:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Miller’s story about “editing his life.” His sense of humor makes the book delightful to read. (His suggestion to a friend about how to answer the question “What’s a movie with a car chase?” was hysterical.) But the larger point – how to have a life that is a story worth reading – is what makes this book so good. As you read his story, you realize you have the same challenge as he had. I’ve given my copy to a friend, and since I only had one copy, I’ll simply recommend it to everyone else.

Colorful Car Update

The other day, I pointed out a beautiful chartreuse Dodge Charger/Daytona at the hospital. It turns out there’s something in the water at the hospital that makes the staff pick wild colors for their cars. Here’s that same car again, in the background, and a gorgeous purple twin of it in the foreground.

Purple & Green Chargers

I’m not a real car aficionado, so I don’t know if this car is a “Charger” or a “Daytona.” Back in the day, they were Chargers, though, and between that and Rush’s song “War Paint” (from their Presto album) I’m going to go with “Charger.”

Windows 7 setup

Well, my laptop won’t be the only functioning computer at church any more. I got the secretary’s new computer set up today.

Secretary's Computer

It’s an Inspiron Desktop 570 MiniTower, and features:

  • AMD Athlon II X2 240 (2.8GHz, 2MB) processor
  • 640 GB SATA II Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
  • 4 GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz (4 DIMMs)
  • FAX/modem (!!!)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium

All that plus a 1-year warranty of sorts. And the amazing thing, to an old duffer like me, was the cost. We didn’t buy a monitor, so the total, including tax and free shipping was $368.66 from the Dell Outlet.

It only took me about an hour to get the software configured. XP used to took forever. Partly this is because Dell seems to be including substantially less crapware that has to be removed.

It would have taken forever, though, if not for Ninite.com. If you still run Windows and you’re not using Ninite, you’re wasting your time.