Posts from April 2005

The New REAL 'Rhapsody' service

Well, it was announced with great fanfare but updating to the new RHAPSODY  took a few tries.
I kept getting technical error messages related to components not being installed and issues with the DRM (digital rights management in plain english) software.
At one point, I was not even able to use my older version of Rhapsody.
On the 3rd or 4th try, after re-installing the software, it finally worked.
I have not tried the expanded service 'Rhapsody To Go' which allows you to download music to your MP3 player(at $14.95 versus my current $9.95 per month).
One thing i do like is the expanded music choices offered.
Another positive addition is the 'music you might like' option kinda similar to what Netflix  offers for movies.
One third new feature I will use is the 'share your playlist' option.
It will start appearing in this BLOG hopefully tomorrow.


A (mon)day in the life of Serge the Concierge

Why did I pick a chilly, windy monday morning as the time to set up Montclair Concierges temporary Morning Headquarters at Mr. D's Coffee Shop while my lengthy, slow moving talks with Montclair Township are underway.
This is the closest location I could find to meet commuters and potential customers before thet hop on the train to New York City for another week of whirlwind activity.
There was only a trickle of activity in the two hours (7:00 am to 9:00 am) that I was there.
I will be there 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) at these early hours.


First Impressions on 'Blockbuster Online' service

I was using Netflix for a while and stopped using their service.
After reading a column in the New York Times comparing the various services, I decided this week to give Blockbuster Online a try using their two weeks free offer.

I like foreign movies. Their first shortcoming  is that when i looked at foreign>french selections, i had to scroll through a bunch of movies who were anything but french language.
The second shortcoming i found is that the only thing printed on the cover sleeve is the title, rating and length, no year, no cast, no details on what the movie is about or its language or any such details.

The 2 selections i received first are , "the motorcycle diaries" and "To be and to have" .


A couple of Pioneer Companies I think 'Montclair Concierges' could Partner with

I was thinking today of companies I would like to partner with in my concierge business.
After reading a recent article on Peapod, the Online Grocer I visited their website and was happy to see them state their passion as " To amaze and delight each one of our customers".
Another recent business pioneer that i could see 'Montclair Concierges' linking with is Zipcar. Started in Boston, you rent a car for a flat hourly or daily fee.
Before the first rental you need to apply for a zipcard, once approved it is mailed to you. You then go online or call them when you need a vehicle. After that you just go to one of the locations where their cars are parked, hold your card to the windshield. It unlocks the car and you're on your way.
The rate includes gas, insurance and XM Satellite Radio.
 

Corporate Social responsability and Fashion via the omnipresent BONO

Meg Carter writes today in the Financial Times about how "clothing companies promoting their virtuous image may be seen as exploiting the fact that they are doing the right thing".
An example of a company founded and marketed around ethics is EDUN a fashion label headed by Bono's wife, Ali Hewson.
Another company cited in the article is 'American Apparel' which is bucking the outsourcing trend by producing its line in downtown LA.

Sounds to charm and surprise your ears

If you are looking for sounds to charm and surprise yours ears, reading  Jon Pareles article This Is The Sound Of Globalization in last Friday's New York Times is a good place to start.
Amongst the musicians he mentions, my personal favorites are Paula Morelenbaum , 'Berimbaum' (a play on words with the brazilian instrument called 'berimbau' ...November 2004. It follows 2 wonderful albums she made with her husband and Ruichi Sakamoto.
While reading Jon's piece, I listened to the whole album and it then just felt natural to enjoy Cibelle's self titled album on Crammed (2003).
Another band mentioned in the article is Konono No 1 "Congotronics" (Crammed as well). They play amplified thumb pianos. Check This Short Video of Konono playing right in their backyard.
Also worth mentioning in the Brazilian Department is the upcoming new album of Celso Fonseca, 'Rive Gauche Trio' (May release/Crammed also). It includes a duet with Jorge Drexler who wrote a song for the 'Motorcycle Diaries' soundtrack. Nonchalant music is perfect for 'lazy' afternoons.
If you are interested in adventures in music check the newly launched Crammed Records BLOG


Why I love my Internet (VOIP) Phone...

I started looking into Internet Phone Services a little over a year ago while looking for a cost effective solution for my business line.
I started by using Vonage in February 2004, had no complaint about it. My only mistake was to have picked the more expensive 'business package'.
During the Summer of 2004, I saw an AD for another company on the New York Times website.
The service was named LINGO  and what caught my eye was first the unlimited calling plan not only to the US and Canada but also to Western Europe. The price was also attractive with the first 2 months free.
The first 2 weeks were frustrating as my service 'died' after 24 hours due to a defective phone adapter.
Once the problem was diagnosed and the adapter replaced, the service worked fine.
I have used it since then without a hitch.
I can call my mother in France and talk leisurely as i know that i talk as long as i wish  to whoever i want to talk to all that for about $25.00 a month.


About Down Time: 'I Need Time for Thinking' writes Harry Eyres in today's Financial Times

Now that we are graced with  warmer weather, Harry Eyres' Slow Lane column in today's 'Financial Times' rings a bell.

He points out that "too much technology takes away the 'down time' that is essential for creativity. We should  cherish opportunities to rest and reflect"
Another thing he highlights is the pleasure of letting your thoughts meander "I enjoy travelling by train, staring out of the window, reading a book in a desultory kind of way, observing fellow travellers".

To read the whole piece I Need Time for Thinking  you will need to register for the 15 days free trial  to FT.com