Shell Station Woes or Circle K on Fire

Thursday was not as good as it could have been at 1956 S. Greenfield Mesa, AZ, the location of the Shell ‘slash’ Circle K store. Seems the Thursday morning shift installed NEW software for the twin cash registers at this location. Not that this by itself an impossible task given today’s technology. It was abbreviated however, and completed at 6:00AM after some 18 man hours were expended from their 3:00AM start. For those of you from Laguna Beach, that means that 5 people watched while one person worked.

After ‘testing’ this new system it was turned over to my day shift at this 6:00AM time. Right off the bat I noticed that the keyboards sounds were much louder and more annoying than I had experienced before. I was told to login as myself and found that I had no access. A problem that was quickly dismissed as security in nature and I should use one of the ‘other’ login numbers I was supposed to know from having worked at this location now some 8 months? (I of course only knew my manager’s login number and verified this with all those in attendance, that it was indeed his number, that was used on both registers that day).

It apparently is a NEW feature of the system to shut-off a register and bring it back to this manager’s login page after 5- 10 minutes of inactivity. I saw this “Login’ screen several times, on both registers, during my shift that day.

Then the FUN began.

If you had cash that day, you probably did not notice there was a challenge going on in that register area.

But if you tried to use a DEBIT card…. or a FLEET card…. or, Heavens forbid an American Express card… then you know what kind of day it was.

I felt that it was important to be DEBRIEFED after I had experienced a full 8 hours of disappointing some 200 customers and called my ‘Market Maker’ later, only after, I had tested some of this really great ‘Scottish Dark Ale’ produced here at LinuxViews.

We both agreed there is an advantage in ‘testing’ after a significant change.

Perhaps next time?


Beer With Beneits

The best brews pack more than a heady buzz — they improve your health, too
By Matt Allyn & Matt Bean, Men’s Health

Beer makes you feel good. You knew that. But you don’t realize just how good. Recent research has revealed bioactive compounds in beer that battle cancer, boost your metabolism, and more. And these benefits come on top of the oft-touted upsides of moderate alcohol intake: clot prevention, cleaner arteries, and reduced stress. Just in time for the summer, we set out with a stack of studies, a panel of parched testers, and a full fridge to find the best-tasting, healthiest brews available. Enjoy.

Best Hops Delivery Vehicle: Avery Maharaja Imperial India Pale Ale
Hops help cut the sweetness in a beer, delivering a crisp citrus-and-pine kick to the back of your tongue. But the cone-shaped hops flower is more than just a flavor savior. Researchers have shown that it’s also a significant source of cholesterol-lowering, cancer-fighting, and virus-killing compounds called polyphenols. What’s more, “Just one 12-ounce beer a day decreased fibrinogen, a clotting factor, and increased albumin, which is very important for protein metabolism,” says Shela Gorinstein, Ph.D., a researcher at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University and the author of a 2007 study on the bioactivity of beer. In our taste test, the winner was a smooth, fruity India Pale Ale (IPA) brewed with 8 pounds of hops per barrel. It boasts 80 times the hops of a mass-market lager.

Runner-Up: Southern Tier Unearthly IPA
Also Try: North Coast Brewing Red Seal Ale, Harpoon IPA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone IPA, Two Hearted Ale

Best Low-Cal Beer: Beamish Irish Stout
The typical low-cal beer is run through a deflavorizing machine on its way to the bottle. “Most of the calories come from the alcohol content and whatever residual sugars may be left after fermentation,” says Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery. We sought a brew that would go easy on the waistline without disappointing the palate. Darker beers have a major advantage here: They’re relatively low in alcohol and have thick, creamy, smoky finishes. When the cans were emptied, Beamish stood tall. It contains about 130 calories per 12-ounce can, but with a full flavor and sturdy dark-chocolate notes.
Runner-Up: New Belgium Skinny Dip

Also Try: Sam Adams Light, Guinness Draught, Sprecher Micro-Light Ale, Mahr’s Bräu Leicht, Shiner Light

Best Organic Beer: Wolaver’s India Pale Ale
The German Beer Purity Law of 1516 restricted “true” beer to three ingredients: water, barley, and hops. Today’s megabrewery beers are anything but pure. A 2003 FDA study found that 27 percent of barley and 32 percent of nonorganic wheat products carried pesticide residues. What’s worse, a loophole in the USDA organic-certification standard allows pesticide-grown hops. Our winner, an IPA with a pleasant aftertaste, is made with wheat from organic farms near the brewer’s Vermont facility. “We track every detail of every organic ingredient,” says Max Oswald, a Wolaver’s spokesman.

Runner-Up: Butte Creek Brewing Pilsner
Also Try: Peak Organic Amber, Dupont Foret, Old Plowshare Stout, Orlio India Pale Ale, Samuel Smith’s Organic Ale

Best Alterna-Brew: He’Brew Origin Pomegranate Ale
Novelty beers can be cloying — you can’t drink more than one — and few of the added ingredients pack health benefits. In our taste test, our top pick featured the antioxidant-laden superfruit, pomegranate, shown to combat cancer and lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and heart disease. In a 2006 UCLA study, for example, men who drank a glass of pomegranate juice every day reduced prostate-cancer cell growth by 12 percent. Brewers dump more than 150 gallons of pomegranate juice into every batch (equivalent to 10,000 pomegranates, or half of a fruit per bottle), giving the final product a rasp- berry-like flavor that allows the malt and hops to come through.

Runner-Up: Dogfish Head Black & Blue
Also Try: Barons Black Wattle Ale, Rogue Juniper Pale Ale, Lindemans Framboise, Kelpie Seaweed Ale

Best Bottle-Conditioned Beer: Brooklyn Brewery Local 1
With bottle-conditioned beers, brewer’s yeast is added right before the bottle is closed, reigniting the fermentation process. The result: deeper flavors, extra effervescence, and, it turns out, many health benefits—the yeast is a rich source of B-complex vitamins, protein, and minerals such as chromium. “German doctors used to prescribe bottle-conditioned wheat beer to patients with vitamin deficiencies,” says Oliver. As a probiotic organism, yeast helps your body break down nutrients, regulates your digestive system, maintains your nervous system, and even helps modulate blood-sugar levels. Oliver’s Local 1 won with a balanced blend of spices and subtle malt flavors. Bonus: Its brewmaster uses twice the yeast.

Runner-Up: Southampton Grand Cru
Also Try: Ommegang Hennepin, Tripel Karmaliet, Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse Hell, Allagash White, La Fin du Monde

Best Dark Malt: Trappistes Rochefort 8
The smooth, deep finish of a dark malt develops during the same high-temperature roasting process that fuels the formation of antioxidants. “Dark beers are loaded with them,” says Joe Vinson, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Scranton. Vinson showed in a 2003 study that stouts, porters, and browns contain more than twice the antioxidants of lagers, on average. What’s more, “The antioxidants in beer are better at reacting with toxic free radicals than the ones in antioxidant vitamin pills.” The Rochefort’s creamy cocoa and caramel notes won us over.

Runner-Up: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Also Try: Alaskan Smoked Porter, Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown, Anchor Porter, Shakespeare Stout, Ayinger Celebrator

32 Things You Can Do with Beer ***

Drink This, Not That: Beer ***

50 Muscle-Building, Brain-Boosting Smoothies ***

Hero of the Day!

This just in from…

John Gebhardt’s wife, Mindy, who said that this little girl’s entire family was executed. The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also, and shot her in the head…but they failed to kill her. She was cared for in John’s hospital and is healing up, but continues to cry and moan. The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both slept in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing. He is a real Star of the war, and represents what America is trying to do.

Tech Arena News

Yahoo shareholders revolet

SEVEN shareholders have decided to sue Yahoo for bungling the takeover bid by Microsoft.

Yahoo’s board claimed that Microsoft’s offer, originally valued at $44.6 billion, is insufficient.

However five shareholders have decided to take Yahoo to court because Yahoo tried to stonewall the deal without trying to negotiate something better.

Another two claim that Yahoo unfairly favoured Microsoft’s “inadequate” bid even though the board eventually turned down the original cash-and-stock offer of $31 per share.

But because Yahoo mucked around’ Microsoft’s stock price has declined by 13 per cent and the bid was worth only $28.94 a share.

On top of this, Microsoft has been also talking about engineering a shareholder revolt in favour of the deal.

Microsoft knew Vista was unready – report

SENIOR EXECUTIVES at the Vole were aware of hardware problems and software problems with Microsoft Vista, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported.

A lawsuit filed against Microsoft has uncovered emails from the head of Windows engineering, with warnings about unreadiness endorsed by CEO Steve Ballmer.

According to the mails, even Volish employees couldn’t get Vista to work with MSN. The emails are revealed as part of a class action lawsuit over the ” Windows Vista Capable” scheme used to keep Windows XP sales buoyant.

Microsoft suit John Kalkman blamed Intel to help “it make its quarterly earnings” by encouraging use of 915 chipsets which have integrated graphics.

Another suit said he bought a Sony notebook only to find it couldn’t run ” Glass”. He said he’d paid over $2,000 for what was essentially an email device.

Google urges ISO to give thumbs-down to Microsoft Open XML

The head of Google’s open-source programs on Monday urged international delegates to vote against certifying Office Open XML as an ISO standard, saying the Microsoft-led effort poses a risk to users who want unfettered access to documents.

Delegates from international standards bodies are meeting in Geneva this week to resolve technical comments submitted after Office Open XML (OOXML) failed to pass as a standard last September. The results of the five-day ballot resolution meeting are critical for Microsoft’s two-year bid to get International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, certification.

Google’s open-source programs manager, Zaheda Bhorat, posted a blog on Monday urging those delegates to vote against Open XML because Google believes that it is an “insufficient and unnecessary standard, designed purely around the needs of Microsoft Office.”

Bhorat said Open XML should be subsumed into the existing standard–OpenDocument Format, or ODF–which is backed by Microsoft rivals, including Google.

Intel Diamondville shuns dual-core

Intel’s upcoming low-cost Diamondville notebook processor will break from Intel’s multicore strategy of the last few years and be primarily a single-core processor.

In this respect Diamondville is not that different from Celeron, a long-standing design (introduced in 1998) that has been exclusively single-core until very recently. The reason for the single-core strategy is simple: With Diamondville, Intel has a “fanatical focus” on low power and low cost, according to Dean McCarron, founder and principal of Mercury Research. A single core means fewer transistors and lower power consumption.

Diamondville is not Celeron, however. “It’s a clean sheet of paper design,” McCarron said. It is a tiny 45-nanometer processor that employs a simpler design (called an “in-order pipeline”) than standard Intel processors, as spelled out in an ISSCC presentation (PDF) earlier this month. Diamondville also has lower-cost packaging than the Silverthorne processor, which Diamondville is derived from.

Because of this extreme emphasis on cost, Diamondville will appear in ultra-low-cost notebooks and to a lesser extent–at least initially–in desktops. Intel refers to the low-cost notebook design as “netbook” and estimates the pricing for these devices will go as low as $250. The initial thrust by PC suppliers such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell is expected to be in emerging markets. Performance is expected to be commensurate with the Pentium-M processor.

Apple updates MacBook, MacBook Pro lineups

The MacBook Pro is available with Core 2 Duo (Penryn) processors at up to 2.6GHz and up to 6MB of cache memory. Storage options have been revised to include up to a 300GB hard drive. In addition, Apple has added Nvidia’s GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor with up to 512MB of video memory. The 17-inch model now gives you the option to upgrade the LCD to an LED-backlit unit for $100. That feature is still standard on the smaller 15-inch model.

The MacBook Pro will also now include the multitouch track pad, first introduced with the MacBook Air. The track pad lets users rotate photos and browse Web pages using gestures such as pinch, rotate, and swipe.

A MacBook Pro with a 15-inch display, 2.4GHz processor, 3MB of L2 cache, and a 200GB hard disk lists for $1,999. The 17-inch model, with a 2.5GHz Core 2 Duo chip, 6MB of L2 cache, and a 250GB hard drive is priced at $2,799, Apple said.

The MacBook misses out on the multitouch track pad, but the prices of the three baseline models stay the same while the configurations get CPU and hard-drive bumps. The $1,299 and $1,499 models now come standard with 2GB of RAM. Previously, doubling the standard 1GB of RAM set you back an additional $150. The $1,099 MacBook includes a 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo (Penryn) processor, 1GB of memory, and a 120GB hard drive (up from 80GB). The $1,299 model gives you a 2.4GHz chip, 2GB of memory, and a 160GB drive (up from 120GB). The $1,499 black model now comes with a 250GB drive (up from 160GB).

Red Hat gets legal over logo

I ONCE WAS asked to give my support to a software company seeking to protect its name being usurped by a proposed revamp of a sweetie brand so you could say that I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. But can you believe that Red Hat is engaging Messrs Sue, Grabbit and Run over what it says are contentious similarities to one of its logos?

According to ReadWriteWeb, Red Hat briefs have sent lobby group a cease-and-desist letter over the logos. It’s Friday and perilously close to pub time so Halesie probably won’t post the images, and anyway we owe the source a hit, so click here to see the spooky closeness in design.*

That’s right, it’s a number eight on its side, a Dick Turpin mask, or an infinity sign. Or something like that. Anyhow, ReadWriteWeb has some fun comparing Red Hat’s position on Microsoft’s openness pledge and its apparently less than open attitude to logos.

However, let’s be a bit more generous and say that legal letters are sometimes sent out as a marker just in case something more serious comes along later, as any journalist who has used the word “biro” or similar sans capital letter will testify.

‘Vista Capable’ class action lawsuit gets certified

A FEDERAL JUDGE in Seattle, Washington certified a lawsuit pending against Microsoft as a class action last Friday, letting plaintiffs pursue claims that the Vole’s labeling of some computers loaded with Windows XP as “Windows Vista Capable” unfairly misled consumers.

The lawsuit alleges that Microsoft’s label was misleading because many of the computers weren’t capable of running the full version of Vista.

However, US District Judge Marsha Pechman disallowed the major claim that punters were harmed by buying computers that could only run Vista Basic.

She noted that neither of the named plaintiffs enrolled in Microsoft’s ” Express Upgrade” program to allow people who purchased “Vista Capable” computers before Vista’s launch to later upgrade to Vista. She found that those plaintiffs therefore couldn’t possibly show that their computers weren’t able to run the full version of Vista.

The judge did leave open the possibility that the plaintiffs could add another named plaintiff who had participated in the “Express Upgrade” program, in which case she would allow that claim to proceed. Call it a broad judicial hint.

Adobe launches AIR

ADOBE SYSTEMS launched something it calls AIR today, the Associated Press reports.