Category Archives: Technology

Amazon Go Grocery is the perfect answer to the Social Distancing question

Grocery stores are not my favorite places.

In the best of times shopping carts are covered with germs, whether or not you can see them. Annoying as it is to find all of the carts are wet (which is common here in the Pacific Northwest) the silver lining is that you know the rain water has given them a rinse.

I generally think of the belt at the cash register being the biggest health risk. One grocery store chain said they are now cleaning the belts at least every 30 minutes. That is less frequent than I’d like to see during “normal” times. I tend to stack things on the belt to reduce the number of items that actually touch that belt.

Now with social distancing the checkout line is an even bigger concern. Standing in a line of strangers, and setting my groceries on checkout belts that I’ve never trusted to be squeaky clean, I can’t help but wish there was an Amazon Go store in my neighborhood. No checkout line and no checkout belt means nobody and nothing touches your groceries except you and the employees that stock the shelves.

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Confessions of a Fitness Tracker Virgin

I’m not much for New Years Resolutions, but the fitness tracker I’d been given had been sitting on the desk, staring at me for over a month. The box begged to be opened, and the band placed around my wrist, never to be removed.

Then again, this Fitbit model is only water resistant, so at least we would have some time apart while I was in the shower.

Here’s what I discovered, about the technology and myself:

What’s In the Package

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Google Used to Trust Me

Google’s priorities are not always the same as mine. Trust, security, compatibility, and safety are all important, and the terms are sometimes used somewhat interchangeably.

Trust and Safety

Readout from Norton Safe Web has rated SteveCase.org as SAFE, with no Computer Threats, Identity Threats, or Annoyance Factors.
Norton Safe Web has rated SteveCase.org as SAFE

This is about as safe a site as you will find. Everyone is free to come here. No account or password is required. There’s no advertising, and I’m not selling anything.

Thanks to that, the search engines and browsers haven’t cared that a secure connection isn’t created when you visit here.

Norton Safe Web has dubbed the site SAFE, without threats or even “annoyance factors.” That doesn’t mean nobody will be annoyed by anything they find here. Norton defines annoyance factors as “Items that don’t necessarily do harm, but are a nuisance, such as joke programs or a site that isn’t what it seems.”

Steve Case is Insecure

Actually, I’m fine – and so is the other Steve Case. However, Google’s Chrome browser warns that SteveCase.org is not secure.

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Fighting Back Against Package Theft and Porch Pirates

I got a surprise when my latest shipment arrived from Amazon. Though their app has been providing delivery notifications for a long time, this one startled me.

Photo Finish

Screen shot of the Amazon app showing a package in front of the doorstep where it was just delivered.
Photo of a package at the moment of delivery

Not only did the app tell me when the package was delivered, but it included a picture of it in the place where it landed.

The photo was crude. You wouldn’t be able to identify either the package or the doorstep in a lineup. However, I recognized the location where it was delivered.

The photo was so bad that I wondered how it was taken. A typical police body cam would have done a better job, even while clipped onto an officer being dragged by a car. Still, it met the need.

did take the opportunity they provided to “Tell us what you think about this photo.” I responded:

It’s a really poor quality picture, but still useful. Of course a better photo would be more useful if I didn’t find the package waiting for me.

I.E.: You can’t definitively identify the package or the location, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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How I Repeatedly Broke My WordPress Web Site

In the beginning, I was a support tech at a vertical market startup. The developer asked me to try to find issues with the software, and I found some – including one major bug. He dubbed me Bug Buster, and the nickname stuck.

Before WordPress

It was only logical that my first site was called BugBuster’s Best. It was a very simple site, and I prided myself on hand-coding it using Notepad. The next incarnation was Steve Case’s Place. Since it was still a simple, hand-coded site, it was easy to migrate to the stevecase.org domain when I acquired it. I completely gutted it soon after that, because my original content had been pretty random.

Twitter’s 140-character limit was far too little for some topics, so I decided it was time to compliment my microblogging with a full-on blog. The hosting company where my site lived offered WordPress as a free blogging platform, so the obvious choice was to start with that.

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When Next Day Shipping Takes a Week

I previously wrote about how Amazon is Taking Over the WorldAmazon‘s Prime Day (which actually ran 30 hours this year) only underscores that impression. The marketing and sales bonanza “surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday, making it the biggest day ever in Amazon history.”

Can You Have Too Many Choices?

Amazon Prime members can chose from a variety of shipping options that may include same-day, one-day, next-day, "Standard" and "No-Rush"
Amazon Prime members can chose from a variety of free shipping options

Amazon’s Prime members can chose from a variety of shipping options that may include:

  • Same-day
  • Next day (“One-Day”)
  • Second day (“Two-Day”)
  • “Standard”
  • “No-Rush”

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