The new Room 34 Online Store is open for business!

I am pleased to announce that the new Room 34 Online Store is now officially open for business!

I’m still toying with keeping some of my designs up on Spreadshirt as well, since I like some of the shirt styles they offer that CafePress doesn’t, but CafePress simply offers a broader selection of products and a much better user interface (which is kind of sad, because it’s still not that great) for managing the store. Anyway… enough of that crap. Buy my stuff! I have some new designs posted along with my “classic” designs, and some more are on the way soon.

Google, you’ve failed me

Over the past few years, I’ve come to assume that any piece of information in the known universe is only a few keystrokes away, thanks to the wonders of Google.

So today, while wondering when the new Best Buy store at the Mall of America is opening, I naturally turned to Google, expecting an immediate answer.

For those of you now firing up Google in another browser tab, I’ll save you the trouble: try any combination of keywords you like, but you’re just not going to find this information.

Everything that came up for me is speculation from last summer, along the lines of “Best Buy to move into Mall of America?” Well no crap. I’ve seen the old Sports Authority storefront closed up with huge “Best Buy coming soon” signs all over it. It’s a done deal, and it’s probably just a matter of days or weeks before they open. The Best Buy logo was filled in a panel at a time, like puzzle pieces, but it’s all there now so it can’t be much longer. Not that I’ll ever know, thanks to Google.

Update (a few minutes later): Finally I gave up on the Best Buy-centric approach and just googled "Mall of America" "new stores" and found this page stating vaguely that the store will be opening in “late summer or early fall.” Boo.

Speechless? Obviously not.

I’ve been on a big Ubuntu kick lately. Ubuntu is the Linux distribution (derived from Debian) that is finally within sight of the elusive goal of producing a “desktop Linux for the masses” as they say. The latest version just came out last week. I’m so impressed with it that it’s distracted me significantly from the upcoming release of the next version Mac OS X. (OK, I do still remember that it’s coming up this Friday, and yes I probably will be queuing up outside the Apple Store this Friday.)

Anyway, I’ve also spent a lot of time reading everything I can pertaining to the new Ubuntu release, including, with great relish, articles wherein longtime Windows users profess their star-crossed love for this newest Linux release. Often the comments are as interesting (or more) than the article itself. Such was the case with this article from the UK branch of ZDNet. A comment there was so funny that I feel I must simply share it here in its entirety:

Microsoft’s now promoting Vista with a campaign called “100 reasons why everyone’s so speechless”.

I looked. #23 is “Because it’s like a digital candy store.”

Puh-leeze. Bring up the Adept Manager in Ubuntu. Now _that’s_ a digital candy store. Over 20000 applications for doing almost anything you can imagine, and quite a few things you can’t. Running Vista is like being in a candy store that only sells black liquorice (I _hate_ black liquorice) at exorbitant prices. Oh, and you’re only allowed to eat the candy in the store. Plus each individual piece is really small and is wrapped in seven layers of cellophane, and the store won’t let you throw the wrappers away. You have to take them with you and throw them away at home. Plus they set off a grenade in the chocolate store across the street in the middle of the night and mugged the proprietors of the penny candy stand. Oh, and Microsoft are the ones behind the urban legend that red M&Ms cause cancer. That’s the kind of candy store Vista is.

The Microsoft page in question, 100 Reasons You’ll Be Speechless, is pretty ridiculous. I have yet to encounter in my day-to-day life a single person who has even acknowledged using Vista, much less anyone who’s actually impressed with it. But as I perused the first dozen or so “reasons,” I could find nothing that isn’t already more-or-less present in Mac OS X, Ubuntu, or some readily available specialty device (like AppleTV) that interfaces easily with one or both of those OSes. And I won’t even get started on the usual litany of complaints about Windows. But the “100 Reasons” probably still makes for an entertaining read… if you’re really desperate for entertainment. (Then again, you probably have plenty of other, superior sources of entertainment at your disposal at this very moment, so why not choose them instead?)

Now there’s something I haven’t seen in years!

I was in a neighborhood grocery store today. It’s one of those old grocery stores that used to be considered a “supermarket” back when it was built, probably in the late ’60s, but now seems quaint and almost tiny. It’s been remodeled, probably many times, but in general its decor looks modern but the layout of the store hasn’t changed a bit. Walking into the store is like walking into my childhood.

That fact really hit home today when I noticed, near the checkout, a very old, very faded illuminated sign/clock reading “Thank you for shopping with us.” But the thing that really caught my eye was barely visible — a long forgotten logo decal on the clock face. But even though I could scarcely see it at all, I immediately recognized it as something that has been burned into my mental image bank even though I haven’t seen it in years (if not decades):

Red Owl Logo

That freakin’ owl used to give me nightmares when I was 3!

Recognize it? Don’t recognize it? Here’s more…