2 reasons I don’t like Au Bon Pain coffee

I skipped my coffee maker this morning since I came into work early, and decided to stop at the Kendall Au Bon Pain this morning for coffee. I remembered a couple of reasons I hadn’t been drinking their coffee for a while.

It’s not that the coffee’s bad: it’s certainly no paragon of coffee perfection, but it’s a fine chain bakery brew and I do sometimes like their Hazelnut mixed with the French Roast. No, it’s two issues about their materials:

  • Light cream. They serve light cream instead of half and half. While I like my coffee with a moderate amount of half-and-half, I inevitably get the amount of light cream to add instead wrong. 90% of the time I think I’ve got it, and it turns out to be far too white and creamy. Today, I was sure I did it right: a tiny splash of light cream and enough 2% milk to make up for it: nope, now it’s not quite rich enough. Sigh.
  • Cups. ABP cups have a far higher failure rate than other local shops – more often than not while driving or walking to work, I get a steady stream of drips down the seam side of the cup, from right under the edge of the lid. Either the seams are too uneven, or the plastic lids are too inflexible. It’s disappointing, and today I forgot to wrap a napkin around the edge of the cup, and so got dripped today.

What ever happened to the old, old Au Bon Pain, back when the baguettes were really flavorful, and the croissants were rich and buttery? Were they actually better back then, or did it just feel like that because they were one of the first chains to do those foodstuffs justice locally so long ago?

(Drat! I didn’t mention the “p” word, but even though it wasn’t on my mind I talked about croissants anyway, which I suppose counts. Another statistic plus for BHD!)

Haiku Wednesday

/ Blogging in haiku. /
/ Japanese doggerel, yes. /
/ But fits in a tweet. /

/ Breakfast sandwich fail. /
/ Tasty, delicious: not found. /
/ Caffeine kick in now?/

/ Am I late today? /
/ Terribly sorry doctor! Hey: /
/ Do you have a cure? /

/ Dumbledore is dead. /
/ Fun teen love angst; black flyers. /
/ Why the cornfield scene? /

/ Email, commit logs, /
/ (How do you follow the threads?) /
/ blog, tweet, chat, AIM: feeds. /

Congrats to these 8 new ASF Directors!

Along with many thanks to all past ASF directors and officers, let me congratulate these 8 people on being elected to the new board.

  • Doug Cutting
  • Justin Erenkrantz
  • Roy T. Fielding
  • Jim Jagielski
  • Geir Magnusson Jr
  • Brian McCallister
  • Brett Porter
  • Greg Stein

Oh, you noticed, huh? There are usually 9 names on the board. Hmmm.

Many thanks to every member at the ASF for this humbling experience! While it feels trite to type it, getting elected to the ASF board is a huge technical honor. There are few places this interesting to get elected by an independent body of your technical peers – and we have quite the strong and capable body of members.

Now to start scheduling all the board meetings, and get ready for my first official one next week.

How many bytes in a Tweet?

We all know (well, most people on the internet) know that a Tweet has 140 characters, which you can (typically) store in 140 bytes. Plus overhead for username, datestamp, etc.

But how many bytes does a tweet actually take up in a week’s lifetime? Everywhere, on everything?

Let’s see: Twitter.com has my tweet on their servers. Probably on a handful of hard drives at various points in their internal infrastructure. And I bet they use a content delivery network, which means it’s replicated on another handful of hard drives around the world.

Each Twitter follower gets at least one copy in their client – so in my case that’s another 100 or so hard disks that have a copy somewhere. (Yes, it’s true, I only have ~100 followers. My twitter ego is sad.)

All of my feeds and my friend’s feeds store a copy of my tweet. That’s another whole handful of feed aggregator server systems that it’s stored on, to say nothing of the number of web/RSS/Atom clients that cache a copy of the page locally when someone reads the feed.

With Twitter’s popularity, tweets get widely searched. This week, for example, #MoonFruit is giving away MacBooks by randomly selecting tweets with their hashtag. That means plenty of people are searching for that hashtag, and all those people will get copies of my tweet as well.

And nowhere have we talked about how Google and other search engines store crawl and query results across their labs full of machines – that probably adds dozens of other instances of at least bits of each tweet.

So – what’s the peak number of aggregate storage bytes that one tweet uses over a week’s lifetime?

It’s interesting to think that all of that storage – something that just 20 years ago would have been quite expensive – is now used for something as mundane as telling your friends and random followers when you’re taking a coffee break. Moore’s Law certainly enables us to do some amazing things with information and communication – as well as lots and lots of inane things.

Today is Arlington FiOS day!

As promised by the aggressive canvassers last week, this is the day for FiOS installs in Arlington. The fleet of white and red Verizon vans from across eastern MA gridded the streets of Arlington Heights this morning as they started their FiOS installs.

If you’re interested in FiOS, you’ll probably have to wait a while for an install, and probably pay more – at least that’s what their canvasser said. It was interesting: I actually spent a good 20 min discussing ISPs and phone companies with the canvassing supervisor the second time they came to my door. A simple explanation that we don’t accept unsolicited callers didn’t get him to leave, but he was interesting enough that I spent a while – on one of those rare sunny moments – just chatting.

Well, I was chatting, and he was still selling. They were definitely getting desperate – I’m betting that besides the commissions the door-to-door salespeople make, they’re having trouble achieving their new home penetration rate with their first round of installs. I wonder what it will end up being in the first round – Arlington is very dense, but it’s definitely a mixed community overall. I was still surprised they spent that long at my door even after I made it clear I wasn’t signing up with them under any circumstances. The first salesman wasn’t much; he just kept spouting the party lines. But the backup salesman / supervisor was actually interesting, and asked a few interesting questions amidst the rest of the sales pitch.

I wonder if Verizon will stop sending me their weekly junk mail now, or if it will continue with a higher pitch. I’ve got quite a large pile, and hope to make an art piece out of them someday.

P.S. Verizon, I’m lookin’ at you. If there are any problems with my existing phone or internet tonight, I’m going to be calling. Your technician hit both our POTS and Cable lines pretty hard with his ladder this morning as he was installing the neighbor’s line. Then he hit them again as he moved his ladder around. If my phone goes out, I’ll be blaming you – and most assuredly not getting your service, either. I almost wonder if this is an unwritten rule for the FiOS installers.