Monthly Archives

Recent Posts

  1. Where Were You?
    Sunday, September 11, 2011
  2. Gavin's First Day of Kindergarten
    Monday, August 22, 2011
  3. Digital Signage at Kohl's
    Sunday, July 31, 2011
  4. Sonic's Blazin' BBQ Loaded Burger
    Thursday, July 28, 2011
  5. Our Adventure to Disney World
    Monday, May 16, 2011
  6. Gavin Enrolls in Kindergarten
    Wednesday, May 04, 2011
  7. The Best Snow Cone EVER!
    Sunday, May 01, 2011
  8. Even a 4-Year Old Can Scan a QR Code
    Saturday, April 23, 2011
  9. Mobile POS at Old Navy
    Sunday, April 17, 2011
  10. That's Huge!
    Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tag Cloud


Where Were You?

On September 11, 2001 at 8am, I was sitting in my Intermediate Macro Economics class at the University of North Texas. None of us had any idea what was happening to our nation that day. As the lecture began, there were a few students whose phones were ringing and they seemed distracted (more than normal). Our professor asked what all the disruption was about; one of the girls answered saying "The World Trade Center has been attacked and my mom is unable to reach my Aunt who works in tower #1".

Shortly after that, the university dismissed classes for the day. I went back to my apartment to find my roommate glued to the TV in unbelief. We sat and watch the story unfold for the next couple of hours. At about noon, I left to go to work. At that time, I worked at a mail-order health supplement company; as you can imagine, our phones were not ringing much that day. We spent most of our time listening to what was happening on the radio.

After what seemed like the longest day ever at work, I went back to my apartment still in unbelief regarding the events that had happened.

Interestingly enough, I had visited the World Trade Center that summer of 2001, only a couple of months before the attack. I spent the rest of the evening looking through all the photos I had taken while in NYC. While in NYC that summer, I opted not to go to the observation level of the World Trade Center because I had just visited the Empire State Building the day before; plus, I was a poor college student and didn't want to spend the extra $22. There was a group of about five of who stayed in the lobby of the World Trade Center. I have lots of great memories there.

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

Gavin's First Day of Kindergarten

Gavin started Kindergarten today. Can you believe I have a kid old enough to be in school? Yikers!

Gavin was so brave and excited to start school. He woke-up with a smile on his face and didn't stop grinning.

One of the things he was most excited about was his new lunch box. Kim spent months researching just the right one for him; she finally bought this one from Yubo. Then to top it all off, she made this really awesome sandwich:

I don't really remember Kindergarten (other than recess) but it seems like his class is really structured. Every morning when they come in, they have "assignments" that they must complete: they have to sign in (Gavin already excels at writing his name), select the type of lunch they're having that day, put their bag in their designated cubbie, put on their name tag, and then have a seat at their assigned table. My day at work isn't that structured

His teacher is great! Her name is Mrs. Bowles. She's been teaching for 27 years (I think she knows a thing or two). Gavin and Mrs. Bowles are getting along great!

We're so excited to see all the new things Gavin learns this year!

Digital Signage at Kohl's

It's difficult to find a good example of digital signage in the retail world. Even in the most digital retail environments (like Best Buy, for example), they're not taking full advantage of the efficiencies that digital signage can bring. Oddly enough, I did find a decent example of at Kohl's. Now, by no means is this sexiest example out there. It is however, one of the best use cases. You see Kohl's tends to change their pricing often; and by often, I don't mean a couple of times a week ... they sometimes change their prices multiple times during the day with the offer of early bird pricing.

Digital signage makes the job of their sales staff much easier and much more accurate. By using digital signage, there's no need for the staff to go back and change pricing; as long as the display still contains the same merchandise, the pricing will update according to the pricing in their POS database.

Here's how it works: The sales staff scans the bar code on the display monitor and then scans one of the SKUs that live within the display unit. A look-up is then done on the Kohl's merchandising database that knows what merchandise is to be included in the display unit. All the corresponding prices then show for the entire display unit.

Scanable bar code on the display monitor.

Single SKU display monitor.

Multi-SKU display monitor.

With each price change in Kohl's POS system, the corresponding price is then dynamically updated across the display monitor. This ROI for digital signage was likely easy to build for Kohl's it must cost the retailer a ton of labor cost to update all the in-store signage within their stores.

Some of the downsides: Each display monitor is wireless ... someone has to keep up with all those batteries; the store must have a robust WiFi network in order to push all the pricing out to the signage on a regular basis; someone at the home office has to build an additional piece of signage for the digital monitors (in addition to the print signage that's produced for the non-digital stores) and maintain the merchandising database.

The system looks to be working really well. The only thing I'd like to see is better graphics behind the digital sign. I'm sure with time, we'll see these and more advanced versions of these types of signs more prevalent in the market. My hat's off to Kohl's to stepping out and trying something new.

Sonic's Blazin' BBQ Loaded Burger

I must say, the Blazin' BBQ burger from Sonic is one of the best burgers I've ever had. That's saying a lot because I've had a ton of burgers in my life ... and I mean a TON. But this burger is different. I mean, take a look at it ... it's loaded!

This burger is loaded with jalapeno strips, sliced jalapenos, bacon, pepper jack cheese, hickory BBQ sauce and a spicy habanero sauce (I get it without the habanero sauce). All this makes for a spicy but awesome burger.

That's me in my McAwesome t-shirt

Stop by your local Sonic and try on today!

Our Adventure to Disney World

We'll, we did it. We made it to Disney World and back! We had a really nice time. The boys did great (for the most part) ... they had their moments - good and bad.

We left DFW on a super early 6am flight to Orlando. Even though it was early, the boys were up and ready to go!

Once we arrived at the resort, the kids couldn't wait to go to "Disney" as they called it. So, we set off to Epcot. Here, the boys were a little disappointed as it wasn't really kid oriented. After a couple of hours, they were ready to go to the pool. Before we left, Grady took a stab at trying to hold up the big ball:

After our day at Epcot, we tackled Animal Kingdom. That didn't really work out as Kim was almost eaten.

The coolest part of Animal Kingdom was the Nemo play we saw. The actors used giant hand-controlled puppets in the shape of the fish. Grady (remember he's only 2 1/2) got so upset during the play; he realized Nemo lost his dad and he started crying. I couldn't believe he could understand that emotion at such a young age. Not to worry, he was okay at the end once Nemo met back up with his dad.

Since the kids weren't really having that much fun at the first two parks, we moved on the Hollywood Studios. Here, we rode the new Toy Story ride. It was awesome! I got to shoot things. It was like a giant moving video game.

Our last two days in the parks were spent at the Magic Kingdom. Here the boys had the most fun: we rode the tea cups, dumbo, small world, Monster's Inc laugh floor, buzz light year, and magic carpet. Without a doubt, we made time to see Mickey.

We took a ton of pictures; rather than post them all here, I've created a slide show for you're viewing pleasure.

I hope you enjoyed a look into our Disney World vacation! Thanks for reading!

Gavin Enrolls in Kindergarten

Today was a big day in "the life of a parent". Kim and I took Gavin to his new school for his Kindergarten pre-screening appointment. He did great (turns about he's above average, no doubt, right?). Gavin was nervous about checking out the new school (so was Kim for that matter); once we got there, he did great!

He loves the new school and can't wait to start!

Check out this awesome floor mat as you walk in ... the boy even has freckles!

After we left, I stopped by the local "bearcat" shop and bought Gavin a t-shirt. Aledo's colors are black and orange ... orange just happens to be Gavin's favorite color, so he picked the brightest orange t-shirt he could find. And to top it all off, we got him an Aledo window decal to put on his truck. This will make you're day!

Kim's a little sad about him starting school (it's a mom thing), but I'm so excited for him! He's ready for a new challenge. Can wait to see how much he learns.

The Best Snow Cone EVER!

Have you ever had a taste of something and had the expectation that it would taste just like it had the many times before? I promise, this snow cone taste like no other snow cone I have ever had. Given, most of the snow cones that I've had in my life came from the soccer fields in Wise County ... if you know anything about Wise County, you understand what I'm saying. The point is, the snow cones at Hawaiian Snow Cone Stand are AMAZING. You have to try one. Why are you still reading ... go now!

The Process:
I really don't know what the process is. I do know there is a machine involved that shaves the ice. I will say, the ice is the key. Most other snow cones I've eaten have big chunks of ice and have little flavor; this is not the case with this snow cone stand. The ice is amazingly smooth.

In addition to ice and flavor, they add something called "sweet cream". Now, I have no idea what this is, but it takes a really good snow cone to the best snow cone ever! My favorite is "wedding cake" with sweet cream. It is perfect.

They are located in the Pizza Hut parking lot on Sycamore School road and Camelot Road in SouthWest Fort Worth. See the map here>

Typically, they're open from 3pm to 9pm, 7 days a week. But they are a small, family owned business so they're not always 100% reliable on times.


Even a 4-Year Old Can Scan a QR Code

QR Code -

I took Gavin (my 4-year old son) to Old Navy today to test out the Crazy Code Egg Hunt. To my surprise, there were a ton of people in store walking around with their mobile devices scanning the QR Codes. I've struggled with this technology because I don't have a solid grasp on the market adoption (or demographic for that matter), but today was obvious that people are using QR Codes.

Old Navy QR Code

While I was playing with the scanner on my phone (I prefer the ScanLife app), Gavin was curious about what I was doing. So, I gave him the phone and said you try. Without any issues whatsoever, he started scanning all over the store!
Old Navy QR CodeOld Navy QR Code

What I found most interesting is that there was no explanation of what a QR Code is or how to scan the code. The in store signage mentions that you can download a QR Reader from your app store. That's about the only explanation you get. The store manager was even a bit confused on what they codes were called. But like I said, customers were having no issues understanding the concept and using the codes (even my 4-year old got it).

The Crazy Code Egg Hunts run through tomorrow (4/24/2011) ... go check it out!

P.S. I promise, I'm not affiliated in any way with Old Navy, I just seem to post about their mobile efforts.

Mobile POS at Old Navy

We were at Old Navy this weekend checking out their swimsuits (60% off ... amazing deals). They were crazy busy! To help move the check out line along, they brought out a couple of mobile POS devices. It was an iOS based platform that accommodated a credit card scan and signature capture.

(Like my new swim shorts?)

They also had this fancy printer that had a belt clip (not that they were using it on their belt):

Overall, the experience was good. The process was a little slow as the store associates were not as familiar with the mobile POS as they were the desktop POS. The biggest missing element was the ability to email receipts. As you can see from the image above, they still printed a receipt and didn't give me the option to have it email to me. In their defense, Old Navy may have a high return rate and knew that electronic receipts would pose more issues that do good.

I'd love to hear feedback from your experiences with mobile POS system.

That's Huge!

My friend Madison man'd up and took the Chubby Challenge at Chubby's Burger Shack. It's a three pound burger and two pounds of french fries. That's insane. 

After about an hour, Madison wasn't looking too good (but he still felt good enough to update his status on Facebook):

But when it came down to the end, he just couldn't finish it (not that I can blame him, there's no way I could do that). Seven patties, seven slices of cheese, grilled onions, buns, two pounds of fries ... that's like three heart attacks rolled into one.

My hat goes off to Madison for trying. It was a good run, but just couldn't bring it home.
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