Category Archives: interweb

The Starbucks Store online is ceasing

Well, damn…

Store.Starbucks.com is going
away, but you can still find all your
favorite coffee and merchandise at
your local Starbucks® stores.

This was sent via email this afternoon. It doesn’t reflect the frustrations that the store was causing me (and who knows how many others) this spring and early summer… Perhaps you can take that as a sign of what was to come?

I had been on the Starbucks Store site a few weeks ago as I wanted to see if its problems still existed. The shop had been upgraded, or so it seemed… and it’s product lineup thinned? I have a tendency to buy Verismo pods in bulk (and had done so regularly through the store) and that was no longer an option.

I took a run over to the onlien store after getting the email announcement, and while I ran into the login issue (“We must have taken a coffee break”), I found myself able to shop again. It made me wonder if I had been scammed with spam in my email inbox?

Nope. And you can read about it on BuzzFeed.

 

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A pop playlist of “relaxing, easy favorites” on Spotify

“Relaxing, easy favorites… with less talk!” That radio pitch from how-many stations in collaboration or owned by the same company? Maybe I’m wrong on that, but “Warm 107 FM” / “Warm 107.3 FM”, “Warm 94.9 FM” all pushed he same type of easy-listening, or a toned-down variety of music from the past few years or longer. It wasn’t that distant to the past that the stations trekked from what I remember… except in rare events for shock or approval. Seeing I’m referencing stuff I heard on the airwaves in the 80’s and 90’s, basically those throw-back numbers were from the 60’s… if they happened at all.

A few years ago I started putting together a personal playlist on my iTunes that mixed together a number of songs that weren’t rockers, or necessarily pop… Then again, some are legendary (Yesterday by the Beatles, Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton, Hotel California by the Eagles). The song list grew as I remembered certain tunes from the past as well as picked up some indie songs by way of listening to Lonely Oak Radio.

That’s led to a playlist of 224 songs spanning a total of 13 hours and 49 minutes. Not all of them perfectly fit the motif of “relaxing, easy favorites” but that’s the title of the playlist. And my own recreation of it is available on Spotify.

The Spotify list doesn’t perfectly recreate things as I’ve taken certain songs off my personal list, I was unable to add others (such as Paul McCartney’s (I Want To) Come Home, Michael Stipe’s mixed-group performance of U2’s One, as well as others). It’s still 182 songs in length…

I could see people arguing “relaxing” does not describe performances by the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s (Under the Bridge and Soul to Squeeze) and of course there are songs you may never have heard by artists you’ve never heard of. Some may seem all right, others may make you turn your nose up entirely upon hearing (which is a standard with radio airplay, ain’t it). Whatever, they’re on the list along with a lot of others. And unlike those Warm FM stations, the time span of the tracks covers songs of the last 60 years of pop music. There aren’t that many from the 1950’s, I’ll admit, but there are also few from the 21st century at current. In time, that might change. That, or I’ll be further stuck in silence (for the rest of my life) and not mess with music that I miss. Who knows? The point is – the playlist is public on Spotify and maybe you’ll be interested in looking into it or – gasp! – listening.

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics

Q and A with Calgary Flames blogger Kent Wilson of FlamesNation

I got Kent Wilson from FlamesNation to participate in the hockey blogger Q and A that I’ve been casually conducting this month. Kent’s one of the strengths of The Nation Network and blogging in general, having his hand in the 2014 “summer of stats”.

What follows is a little insight in how Kent found his way into blogging and his views on the season ahead for the NHL.

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Avenues to contribute toward aid and relief post-Hurricane Harvey (via Mile High Hockey)

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A hockey blogging Q and A with Ken Boehlke from SinBin.Vegas

It is a season for beginnings, and I don’t just mean the rookie class of 2017-18 (that’s a yet-to-truly-know brood; it’ll clarify in the weeks to come) but the franchise class of 2017-18.

The birth of the Vegas Golden Knights is also the birth of professional sports in Las Vegas, Nevada (being the first major-league team in Sin City, USA) and so far the population has been quite receptive of what is yet to come. Ticket sales revenue is ahead of other franchises — 20 of’em –  and you can find all sorts of excitement and interest on the start of Golden Knight hockey.

Ken Boehlke of SinBin.Vegas has been covering the forthcoming franchise  it was a sought-after commodity for Las Vegas (his start will  be exactly 2 years ago on August 26th).  Below you’ll find his odds and ends and opinions regarding writing, the league, and  more.

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A hockey blogger Q and A with Lyle Richardson of Spectors Hockey

One of the routine areas that draws fans to the web to find out what they can are rumors. Some are made up, some are hearsay, some are those casually expressed “I’m hearing…” remarks that you see on Twitter from major members of hockey coverage.

The man at the blogging level who made a name for himself and found a firm niche in covering reports on potential player movement in the NHL is Lyle Richardson of Spectors Hockey, who you likely have also seen on such sources as Fox Sports and Bleacher Report among others.

Richadson is another one of the forefathers of the hockey blogosphere, starting around 2003. Want proof? I reposted this article for him during the NHL lockout of 2005, having originally run in November 2003.

While there are a lot of questions still to be had about player movement and eery franchise in the league, the questions are a mix about the man,  blogging, and guys named “Joe” and “Jaromir”.

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A hockey blogger Q and A with Laura Astorian of St. Louis Game Time

Continuing the Q & A series that was unveiled Wednesday, another of hockey bloggings assetss chimes in on life in covering not one but two teams in her blogging career. Laura Astorian, who has been a void of both the St. Louis Blues and the Atlanta Thrashers. It’s one thing to cover multiple teams in one town, but to stand up and show love by way over coverage for two teams in the same sport at one time is a hell of an accomplishment.

Laura currently runs St. Louis Game Time on SB Nation (which is also a game-day publication for Blues games; that is done by Brad Lee). She’s a great follow on Twitter too for take on the sport, the entertainment industry and what not.

What does Laura think about the NHL’s plan to forgo the 2018 winter Olympics? What tips does she have for those who want to get into blogging? Read below.

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A hockey blogger Q and A with J.P. of Japers Rink

While I pour over headlines of the hockey blog universe on a daily basis, I’ve been noticing something missing in the summer of 2017 that usually runs as an ongoing series in the hockey blogosphere: question-and-answer sessions that don’t just run the course of talking about other teams, but illustrate networking in blogdom.

Today I’m (hopefully) starting a series of Q & A interviews with some of the hockey blogosphere’s top members. The questions aren’t locked-on-the-franchise talk but touches on blogging as well as the wider NHL with some points that often play out in regular discussions that have been prominent this summer  among idle fans.

This introduction interview is with Jon “J.P” Press, founder of Washington Capitals blog Japers RInk.  Jon has been at his game as a hockey blogger since the 2004-05 NHL lockout. That idle time was pretty tough for fans to live through, and yet it gave birth to known members of the blogging universe as well as the mainstream media.

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Dependability is offline at Tampa Bay Online

The site known as Tampa Bay Online – www.tbo.com – has been around for decades. TBO was once tied to both Tampa Bay NBC affiliate WFLA News Channel 8 and former print publication The Tampa Tribune (both media entities were owned by Media General). Let me stress that with the decades aspect of Tampa Bay Online as TBO started out in the early 1990’s in a form that was accessible through the Prodigy dial-up network and America Online. It’s sort of hard to explain things before the internet as you know it now – some people were exposed to it well before the general public. I was introduced to the Net through Prodigy and later AOL.

Back to the topic, TBO has been around a while as a media hub (to say the least). With the Tribune leading the charge so often, the flavor of news and writing from the Trib (with its right-leaning slant) was always on display but its general news coverage was complimented by video coverage of news stories that News Channel 8 reported on.

Yet a downfall has been rampant for a while: Media General sold the Tribune in 2012, and while the new ownership vowed they were here to stay, it didn’t play out like that. I’m not sure if there was an official end-partnership between the Trib and WFLA but things scaled back and ceased after the Tribune moved away to its own property. In the spring of 2016 the Tampa Tribune was acquired by print news rival, the Tampa Bay Times. The Tribune ceased to be while certain columnists, reporters and employees were imported to Times staff while others were dismissed. TBO.com has continued operations since then but has become a quizzical online destination for news information in the area. Continue reading

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Best of the Bay and the Bolts for 2017

I may have touched on this Best of the Bay thingie while talking about music (sweet music…music everywhere) but the topic of note is the one that my name is usually linked to: The Tampa Bay Lightning. Creative Loafing’s 2017 reader poll doesn’t lack nor neglect notable aspects of the Bolts – directly or indirectly – which sets the table for Lightning fans to show support for cogs they know regarding the club.

Mind you, there may be more nominated aspects and assets with ties to the franchise (Amalie Arena, or perhaps a locale within the arena). What’s being cited here is from the section called People, Places, Politics which features categories pertaining to public figures, locations and sports. Continue reading

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Filed under Raw Charge, Sports, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Lightning

Tweeting an NHL-related poll

The timing may seem a little odd to do this now as we are in the middle of the summer doldrums of the NHL and ice hockey in general, but this afternoon I’ve posted a little poll on Twitter asking  public opinion on coverage and broadcasting of the NHL on NBC Sports:

I’ve already posted this summer with a negative opinion about a certain personality of NBCSN, and I made him a key figure when criticizing the network in the past. I’ve toyed with writing a new article regarding the network but that seems like a useless feat if general opinion of their on-air hockey experience is taken in a postie way.

The poll will be open until Monday, July 31, 2017. Vote, and perhaps retweet things.

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[Updated] For the moment (or longer) Beware Ordering from the Starbucks Store

I’m an espresso guy. I don’t tend to drink standard coffee but I have shots of espresso, that’s my thing and it’s long-time been my thing. I’ve owned espresso brew machines that required me to get bags of coffee grind up beans myself and do extra articulation to make an espresso.  Due process, y’know, can’t put it down (especially because …. well, Mmmmmmm!).

A couple of years ago I got a Starbucks Verismo coffee brew machivn, a simplified means to brew an espresso (and make a latte if I so wish). You just had to push a pod into the machine and behold — an espresso roast is ready for you!

Yet, with ease of use comes a growing demand and a supply that runs dry in short order. I’ve seen rates vary from $11.95 for a single box of 12 pods to $13.95; that makes Verismo usage into a costly habit.

But Starbucks online store offers cost-saving, bulk purchases of 96 pods 8 boxes for just under $80 bucks, with free shipping. It’s that aspect that’s drawn me to the Starbucks Store online.

All the above details are moot though; this warning of the Starbucks Store applies for anything and everything you’d potentially purchase through the store if you’re expecting timely service. Continue reading

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Social Media Reach and the Tampa Bay Lightning

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When an established band gets deemed as nothing

I like Reddit. I’ve already posted here about Reddit and promoting content on Reddit. I also know Reddit doesn’t work for everyone, especially at the community-level where commentary can get volatile and discussion stunted by way of sarcasm and reactionary responses.

I want to speak of ill I’ve encountered, but not a malicious incident. No, no, it’s posting restrictions that thwart participation. Subreddit’s having rules are a necessity or everything goes chaotic (or spam-laden), so I’m not trying to frown on rules here. It’s when they go too far and are over-reactive in an effort to… what, exactly? Continue reading

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics

Indulged by the glimmer from Gypsy Star

I was on the Music Tampa Bay website yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, it’s an indie rock/music station in the Tampa Bay metro area (96.7 FM). I’ve interacted with the site before as I helped get the Pretty Voices on air on the station.

One key element on the Music Tampa Bay website is a Top-10 list of songs from local artists. It’s also directly tied to voting on the Top-40 of the station. I was looking at the list specifically to see if the Pretty Voices had any tracks listed at the time (nope). None of the listed artists or bands were familiar to me and that’s regularly the case with me and indie music.

What’s also regularly the case with me is checking out an indie artist because… why the hell not?

So, listed at #1 at the time on the Top-40 list was Gypsy Star, “I Feel Love”.  I jumped to Google and typed that in and instead of pointing to a version of “I Feel Love” on YouTube, it pointed to the song Paramour:

All too often what I hear and what I see is bland rock. It’s not the lyrcs that make it bland, it’s just the non-riff of guitar and everything layered on top of each other to make the tunes forgettable. This was not that. I was taken aback by a violinist and accordion being part of the arrangement. Gypsy Star describes themselves as being “dynamic folk / rock” and this sure as shit felt like it. It transfixed me through Monday night.

Yet, listening to the opening of the song again, familiarity crept in. I’ve heard another variation of this before, haven’t I? Listen to the song alone for a minute, without the show distraction.  Think about it for a minute.

It reminded me squarely of a song that “you can check out any time you like, but you can never” leave:

Don’t take that as a criticism, folks. I highly recommend checking out more of their tunes; they just released the album Under the Moonlit Night  in January. Listening to “Paramour” and checking out some of their other songs (like the previously mentioned “I Feel Love”, you can find “I Feel Love” here, it is on YouTube… Not in concert version) I’ve been left curious and surprised. Gypsy Star is only a Tampa Bay local group? They sure as hell look an sound like a group that should be seeing a broader playing area in Florida, in the US and perhaps around the globe.

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay