Wired for Success

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By Akosua Kathryn Albritton
Popeye’s Goes Cyber
Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits is introducing new things on the menu and on the floor to enhance the dining experience.  Visit   Popeye’s at the corner of Fulton Street and Flatbush Extension.  There is an eight-seat cyber lounge.  Pay four dollars at the payomatic and a customer has one hour in front of a Web-enabled PC.  That is enough time to check stock prices, transfer funds between bank accounts, check for e-mail or just watch a WebTV channel.
This Popeye’s location has an ATM located near the service counter and a self-serve line.  How the self-serve works is a customer inputs an order into a machine and pays for the meal using a credit/debit card.  The food is packed and given to the customer by a Popeye’s employee.
  Popeye’s top brass conceived a comprehensive dining experience for QSR-quick service restaurants.  From a visit to the Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits web site (www.popeyes.com), one will learn the enterprise’s roots are in New Orleans.  The founder, Al Copeland, opened his first restaurant in 1972 under another name.  Copeland worked out franchise deals with other people who wanted to follow his business strategy and recipe.  Today, Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits is a division of AFC.  Two executives that were key to enhancing the dining experience are Bob Melberth, Vice President of Field Service and Chief Development Officer Jim Lyons.  Brooklyn has about ten Popeye’s restaurants.  Does the Popeye’s near you have a cyber lounge?  If it doesn’t, request that one be installed.  That Popeye’s franchiser understands the power of service demand.
Failure = US President?
If you type “failure” or “miserable failure” into Google search engine’s keyword bar and then click “I’m Feeling Lucky”, the top result will be US President George W. Bush’s Webpage (www.whitehouse.gov/president/gwbbio.html).  People are so fascinated by this result that there is a flurry of e-mail about it.  What does Google mean by this?  Is Google getting political?
Marisa Mayer, Google’s Director of Consumer Web Products, explained on September 16, 2005 in Google Blog (www.googleblog.blogspot.com) that the search result is not indicative of Google’s political bias and it is not an attack on the US President.  Rather, it is the result of the practice of “googlebombing.”  Googlebombing is the concerted effort of several Webmasters to raise the rank of a Web site or page in Web search results.  The Web masters connect a phrase or word to a particular Web page through hyper linking.  Google uses an algorithm that matches and prioritizes a word or phrase to a webpage.  Mayer says, “Because several webmasters used the words “failure” or “miserable failure” in the pages’ text and hyperlinked the words to President Bush’s Web page, the result is the US President’s Web page being the top result associated with those words.  Mayer is apologetic about the situation.  She sees that it’s unfortunate for the president “but Google is reluctant to alter [the] results by hand in order to prevent such items from showing up.”  As of October 25, 2005, the same result occurs when using “failure” as the keyword.
Broadband Over Power Lines Revisited
The COMTek and Manassas success that was reported in the October 15, 2005 column is part of an overall effort to democratize broadband and Wi-Fi (wireless Internet access).  Though the Bush Administration promises universal affordable access to broadband technology by 2007, his Republican colleagues in the legislature vocally favor private ownership over public ownership.
There is a grassroots movement to “free” broadband and Wi-Fi.  Some groups actively lobby Capitol Hill and others teach folks how to build free Wi-Fi networks (a.k.a. “hot spots”).  Major players in the free broadband movement include Free Press, Community Broadband Coalition and Anchor Free Wireless.  Manassas, VA’s feat is a “shot in the arm” for municipal broadband.  The other nine towns slated for BPL allays concern over blocking local governments from providing the networks.
To learn more about democratized broadband and Wi-Fi, visit www.freepress.net, //releases.usnewswrie.com/GetRelease.asp?id=49342, www.baller.com/comm_broadband.html or www.anchorfree.com.
Q & A
Q:  I’m trying to get into this Internet thing but all the abbreviations and slang give me a head freeze.  I was thumbing through a magazine and saw “Ethernet”, “NIC” and “IEEE 802.3.”  What do they mean?
A:  You have to accept that each business has its insider’s lingo.  After a while, the insider’s lingo becomes part of everyday language.  This is similar to Mexican-Americans saying, “La Raza” to indicate solidarity or Americans asking,   “Is it the real McCoy” because of a locomotive part invented by a black man named McCoy.
All three expressions in question relate to a Local Area Network or LAN.  The LAN connects many PCs that may be in the same building or town.  The LAN is telephone cable-bound.  Ethernet (ether network) is a standard communication protocol embedded in software and hardware devices intended to build a LAN.  NIC is short for Network Interface Card.  It’s one of the trays inserted in a port in the back of a PC.  An Ethernet cable is hooked into the NIC of all PCs that are part of the LAN.  IEEE 802.3 is short for Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 1982, 2nd month, 3rd subcommittee.  IEEE 802.3 is the set of standards in Ethernet protocols (the required steps) for a LAN.  What do you want from engineers-something easy?  Fughettaboutit?
Have a story about a virus, Web site or need a question answered?  Contact me at Akosua@plans4success.com.

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