Thursday, December 31, 2009

When frozen yogurt gets controversial

On Monday, I wrote something in my Empoprise-BI business blog about Yogurtime in Upland. In the course of writing this post, I discovered a story I had missed in 2009 - a story in which frozen yogurt became controversial.

(OK, the Billy Paul sketch on SNL had a controversial mixing of ice cream flavors, but this is different.)

Back in March, it turns out that Yogurtime had to cancel a high school fundraiser due to "threatening phone calls" - specifically, threats that people wouldn't shop at Yogurtime any more if they hosted the Upland High Gay-Straight Alliance.

Of course, the story resulted in "threatening letters" - basically, ones that said that the people wouldn't shop at Yogurtime any more because they cancelled the fundraiser.

Lots of threats here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

ESRI Developer Summit is approaching

I saw a LinkedIn update from an ESRI contact who was preparing for the ESRI Developer Summit.

A little bit about me and ESRI - since I'm involved in the public safety arena, I've been following ESRI for some time. The fact that they're based right here in the Inland Empire, and that fact that my former employers Printrak and Motorola did business with ESRI (I assume that Motorola still does business with ESRI today), only serves to increase my interest in ESRI's goings-on. Frankly, during my time in AFIS product management, I would have liked to have incorporated geomapping into AFIS as an aid in crime-solving, but absent a lack of customer interest in using this, and paying for this, I never really pursued the idea.

If you haven't heard of ESRI, they're a Redlands-based company that provides geographic information system (GIS) software that can be incorporated into other applications (such as Motorola's computer aided dispatch application).

So what is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts.

A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared.

GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework.

That "integrated" part is where developers come in. As noted above, ESRI's software can be incorporated into other applications, and to assist developers in doing this, ESRI provides several services, including the aforementioned ESRI Developer Summit. The summit will take place in Palm Springs (one mountain pass away from Redlands) on March 22-25, 2010. A high-level agenda has been posted, and a Twitter account (@esridevsummit) and Facebook page (esridevsummit) have been created.

And if you need to figure out how to get there, I'm sure ESRI will provide you with a map.

P.S. They have an on-site cafe with Starbucks.

Monday, December 28, 2009

(empo-tymshft) Sometimes business is a zero sum game

In our economic and business environment, we are wired to believe that everything is always increasing. Population is always increasing. Wages are always increasing. Revenue is always increasing. And if things aren't increasing, something is wrong.

Hence the note of alarm from the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce, as recorded by David Allen:

[T]he Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce is alarmed enough by the number of closings in Chino and Chino Hills to appeal to the public.

"Because of the influx of new restaurants in the south Chino and Chino Hills area, many of the longer established restaurants all around Chino Valley are struggling to keep the doors open," writes the chamber's Jean Christy.

To which I respond, DUH! If a town has one restaurant, and a second restaurant opens, then the only way that both restaurants will prosper is if new business can be lured in from the existing population. And during a recession, that probably ain't gonna happen.

But if the number of businesses remain the same, why is the Chamber so concerned? Hints can be found in Allen's article:

Chino lost Black Angus and On the Border, both at the Spectrum, and Dickey's BBQ. (The latter especially bothered Christy because it participated in the chamber's annual Taste of the Chino Valley.)

"If that is not bad enough," Christy writes, "an icon in the Chino Valley for 15 to 20 years -- Marie Callender's in Chino Town Square -- MAY be closing effective Jan. 3." She says Callender's participates in Taste of the Chino Valley and the Dairy Festival and also contributes to other community events.

So you see why the Chamber is concerned - the businesses that are closing are the ones that happened to support the Chamber. Apparently the newly-arrived businesses aren't embedded in the community enough to support the Chamber yet - and THAT'S why Christy's concerned.

And isn't it interesting to notice that something that's been around for "15 to 20 years" suddenly becomes a revered icon? I have lived in Upland or Ontario for over a quarter century, and when I first arrived here, I had a friend who performed at a restaurant in downtown Chino. Or close enough - it was on Central Avenue, just south of Riverside. A few years later, I bet that restaurant lost business when that usurping chain restaurant Marie Callender's opened outside of downtown, threatening the established local business community. And now Marie Callender's itself is a victim of the same problem - new businesses moving in and attracting people away from the old ones.

This parallels the situation in my city of Ontario, in which patrons of Albertson's and other established stores are decrying the entry of Wal-Mart - never mind the fact that Albertson's and the other stores already lured people away from downtown Ontario.

The only way that you'll get old and new businesses to survive is to have a bunch more people migrate to the area. But of course, that would involve APARTMENTS - and we certainly can't have that.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Can you hear me - uh, never mind...

AT&T's wireless network has been in the news over the last few months, and not in a good way, between aggressive commercials from Verizon and complaints from customers.

But in our local area, there's a bit of good news on the AT&T front.

AT&T announced last week the activation of a new 3G cell site near the intersection of 15th Street and Campus Avenue in Upland.

Writer Sandra Emerson also noted some statistics from an AT&T news release:

AT&T plans to add more than 200 cell sites in California this year and upgrade nearly 320 more sites to 3G. From 2006 to 2008...AT&T's total capital investment in its California wireless and wireline network was nearly $7.9 billion.

I'm not sure of the comparable cell site count and investment figures for competing wireless carriers.