Archive for August, 2008

Sugar Land church to house Fort Bend’s newest Starbucks

The Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugar Land is opening a new Starbucks with a unique twist.

The coffee shop, part of the church’s new Family Center, will be located inside — next to the worship area and adjacent to a large, two-story play center. Patrons can sip lattes and surf the web with free Wi-Fi while their children shoot down slides and tumble through the padded obstacle course. A bookstore will provide Christian reading materials, gifts, apparel, movies and music.

With a grand opening scheduled for Sept. 7, this may be Fort Bend County’s first not-for-profit Starbucks. I guess when the Lord sees fit to close one Starbucks another is opened.

Bobby Chandler, director of communications, said the idea for the center came in 2006 when the church saw it would need to expand the child center.

“We wanted a family center not just for children but for adults and gatherings as well,” he said.

So they installed the play area in a 113,000-square-foot addition to the original building. They made space available for weddings or performances and purchased a contract with Starbucks that allows them to use the company’s equipment, products and recipes. The church wanted to give moms an alternative to McDonald’s to take the kids to on those hot and humid days when outdoor playgrounds aren’t an option, Chandler said.

“We’re encouraging the community to come and use this. This isn’t something we built just for us. This is something we wanted to share with the community,” he added.

All profits from the Starbucks and the bookstore are put back into the church, its ministries and the Family Center, he said.

While attending the church service isn’t a prerequisite to using the facility, or buying a latte, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you showed up. You can get more information about the church and its pastor, Mark Hartman.

Two airliners nearly collide over Atlantic

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two airliners were one minute from colliding when at least one of the planes turned away from the other over the Atlantic Ocean this week, federal authorities said Friday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was investigating an incident in which a Delta Air Lines flight and a Russian-registered passenger jet were heading toward each other Thursday north of Puerto Rico when cockpit alarms went off.

The NTSB said the pilot of the Russian plane — a Transaero Boeing 747 — descended 200 feet to 300 feet to avoid Delta Flight 485.

The planes were at the same altitude — 33,000 feet over open ocean — and were “60 seconds apart from occupying the same airspace,” said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

Knudson said the agency doesn’t have enough information yet to know if the planes would have collided had evasive maneuvers not been taken, or if they would have narrowly missed each other.

The two planes were about 180 miles north of San Juan when the near-collision occurred at about 6:30 p.m. ET. The Delta Boeing 737 — with 152 passengers aboard — was headed from New York’s Kennedy International Airport to Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The NTSB said there were no injuries.

“This was every bit the classic near miss,” said Doug Church, a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

The Delta pilot told air traffic controllers that the incident was “extremely close” and that he also took evasive maneuvers, said Victor Santore, a vice president of the controllers union. NTSB’s Knudson said he could not confirm the controllers’ account.

There was no FAA radar coverage in the area where the planes nearly collided — as is the case over most open ocean. The NTSB says aircraft are required to remain at least 15 minutes apart when flying through areas with no radar coverage.

Flight plans filed by the two airlines placed the aircraft on intersecting flight paths, which would have been fine as long as they stayed 15 minutes apart, Santore said.

Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton declined to provide any further details of the incident. “We are fully cooperating with the NTSB,” said Talton.

This kind of stuff probably happend most every day, we just done hear about it :/ Scary stuff: “There was no FAA radar coverage in the area where the planes nearly collided — as is the case over most open ocean.”

8.30.08

Oh, and another thing about Drive Thru: I don’t know if it’s like this other Starbucks. or in most fast food restaurants, but I suspect that it is– that person that greets you with, “Hi, welcome to… [wherever]…” when you drive up to the menu board, they are not necessarily waiting for you at the drive thru window to drive around and pickup your order. I never knew that. I just thought that person was planted there at the drive thru window. However, that person could very well be in the back on the computer, they could be restocking, washing dishes, in the safe making change, putting toilet paper in the restrooms… they could be doing most anything. See what I mean about multi-tasking!?!

OK, off to a 4 1/2 training class… I hope they have free coffee! Surely, you’d think, right?

So, I’m back home after the training class. It didn’t last as long as they said it would. I guess they just allow that much time incase the class is rather larger. Ours was small, only 5 of us– me and another Barista from my store, 2 Baristas from the Lovejoy store and 1 from the PTC store. The class was held at the Peachtree City Starbucks– the one that used to be a Fudruckers. If you haven’t been there you should go– it is HUGE!!! Storage is certainly no problem at that store! They have 2 conference rooms and several “cushy” seating arrangements.

We’re not in the coffee business serving people;
We’re in the people business serving coffee.

That’s the focus of everything at Starbucks. They really push the “customer connection” thing– that’s essencially what it all about. Oh yeah, and we serve the highest quality coffees known to man- Arabica.

I am continually gaining more and more confidence that I have made the right move joining the Starbucks team. One thing I really like is the ever-changing, ever-evolving menu. Not just new coffees and teas but take for instance then new health breakfast menu that will debut next Wednesday. I’m on level playing ground when it comes to these new choices. It’s new to everyone that works at Starbucks– doesn’t matter if you’ve been there 8 days, 8 months or 8 years. It’s totally new and we are all on the same level playing ground when it comes to that. I can choose to read up on it and be knowledgeable or I can just sit around and be a non-participant. I choose to be informed so that I can inform my customers and turn them on to the new selections. I know many of them are health conscious and are really going to be pleased with the new, healthy alternatives!

8.29.08

Today was “Drive Thru” day :-[ Actually, I only ended up working the drive thru the last 45 minutes of my 4-hour shift. But that was enough!!! It’s CRAZY! I’ve long thought of myself as a multi-tasker, but working the drive thru at Starbucks pushes multi-tasking to it’s absolute limits. It may take a while to get a grip on this.

I tasted one of the new “healthy” breakfast items today– an Apple Bran Muffin. SUPER, SUPER YUMMY and only 6 points.

LOL: A customer came into the store today [actually, lots of customers came into the store today…] and while they were being served, they asked if I was out of school. I guess I must of looked puzzled at their grand misinterpretation of my age, and just responded, “Yes, I’m out of school.” Then, they said, “No, I mean out of college.” to which I replied, “Yes, I’m out of college.” How ODD! But it made my day.

Then, I got a TM from my bff that said BIGGER Tom was leaving to go back to college. I thought he was leaving tomorrow :/ I text him and said he’d better come by and say goodbye to me before he left and he did. I suppose if my bff hadn’t just happened to take the day off and just happened to be home, BIGGER Tom might have left for college without as much as a goodbye for any of us :/ As it is, Sari Beri didn’t get a goodbye at all. So sad. He says he’ll be back at Thanksgiving, but I suspect he will be home for a weekend before then. I suspect we see him the last weekend of October when his bf comes home from training. BOYS!

BTW, when BIGGER Tom saw me in my green apron and black hat, he said I look just like one of the young girls 🙂 he he he he…

I got my first paycheck today from Starbucks 🙂

The Bloodmobile was there today– a promotion we do once a year. The posters and fliers said that if you donated blood you got a free tshirt and coffee. I don’t know where the tshirt came in but evidently the people in the bloodmobile were telling doners that we were giving out free tshirts and we were telling doners that they were giving out free tshirts. Nobody had any free tshirts :/ somebody messed up.

Evidently this week the weekly delivery changed from Wednesdays to Saturdays. Space to store items is greatly limited so that you basically order just what you’ll need for the upcoming week. I guess no one took into consideration when they ordered for last week that it needed to last a week and a half since this week’s order would not come until Saturday. So, this morning they ran out of lids for the Grande and Venti hot cups. They were handing out Grande and Venti drinks in two Tall cups with lids. All this happened before I got there. I think there was at least one customer that was upset about this– probably more. Then we ran out of the protein powder for the Vivannos. YIKES!

I realized this week that I haven’t really challenged myself to learn anything new in about 10 years :/

Tomorrow I go to the PTC Starbucks for a 4 1/2 hour training class– The Starbucks Experience.

8.28.08

Today I worked the espresso bar and also practiced making several different kinds of specialty drinks including [but certainly not limited to] an Americano, Cappuccino, Latte, even a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I practiced the difference between making the froth for a latte and a cappuccino– BIG difference! The same size latte should weigh quite a bit more than a cappuccino. Cappuccinos are very light actually. The people I am working with are very encouraging and keep telling me how fast I’m catching on and how good I’m doing– I’m sure they say that to everyone, or just about everyone. I made me a couple of “cheat sheets” to help me remember how many shots and pumps of syrups different drinks should receive.

It was nice to get home this afternoon about the same time as my bff and go for a nice long walk down the crooked gravel road 🙂 AND, we saw the Goodyear blimp– it practically flew right over our house.

Weighed in at WW tonight for the month. Lost 2.4 lb. GOOD JOB!

Tomorrow, I work the drive thru for the first time. I’m kind of nervous about talking through the headset. I’ve worn it a couple of times and listened, but never actually talked with it and certainly never spoken to a customer with it. I’m crossing my fingers! “Hello, welcome to Starbucks. What can I get started for you today?”

Oh yes, and tomorrow we are having a blood drive at Starbucks– donate blood and you get a free coffee. YIKES! I think I’ll pass on that one…

8.26.08

So, yesterday was like the longest day ever. I opened at 4:45. That means the alarm goes off at 4:00, which really isn’t too too bad considering I can be showered, makeuped, dry all this hair, make a breakfast, and be out the door by 4:30. I’m fast, really, really fast! As soon as my stint at Sbux was over [I really can’t call it “work” at this point], it was off to get a quick pedicure– Sbux in hand of course, and then home to get ready for the evening. “The evening” was a dinner with friends at a place we’d never been– California Dreaming, a couple of Sbux runs and a very good vball game. We got back home a little after 10:00 only to spend the next 45 minutes or so fighting an onslaught of ants that had taken over the mud room in our absence. No uncles… just ants.

Today, Sari Beri and I enjoyed a nice, leisurely breakfast at Sbux before she had to go to school. [We’re trying to do this once a week.]  Then, for me it was home again to do some work and then off to Sbux until the afternoon which consisted of a quick run to the grocery store, home to unload [thanks Thomas & Jon], off to school to pick up Sari, back home, to a violin lesson, and then back home for the last time today– I hope. After dinner my bff and I took our 2-mile loop through the city. The weather looked grand when we started out but before we got back the bottom dropped out and we arrived back at the house completely soaked, but it was fun 🙂

So, what have I been doing at Sbux the last couple of days? Well yesterday I spend the majority of the 8-hour shift working on the cold drink side– Vivannos, Frappacchinos, iced coffees, teas, etc., etc., etc. It’s the messiest side of the business so far! At one point I had chocolate whipping cream all up my arm :/ I don’t think that’s supposed to happen. I seem to have a great deal of difficulty pouring the Frappacchinos out of the blender into the cups which sometimes results in a GRAND mess! Maybe I’m making them too thick. Yesterday afternoon I started on a computer module that trains you to use the registers [the POS or Point of Sale system]. It was quite difficult, time consuming and frustrating because sometimes even though I could confirm that I was giving the correct answer, the system still told me I was wrong. The other employees had all been through the same experience– I don’t know why someone doesn’t fix that! I grew so tired of hearing, “Sorry, that answer is incorrect. Please try again.” That I thought I might hear it in my sleep last night.

Today I worked primarily on the POS [Point of Sale] system and it went quite well. While customers could surely tell that I was a “newbie” they were all quite patient as I was guided through this cumbersome learning experience. The POS system is actually quite intuitive and pretty much easy to use. Someone has put quite a bit of thought into the process of laying things out so that they fall into a logical order on the many screens you have to deal with.

The most surprising thing is like when someone orders a complicated drink like, lets say… my old favorite: a Venti, decaf, quad, non-fat, latte. You ring up a Venti latte and because a Venti latte comes with 2 shots of espresso then you only have to ring in 2 more shot making it a quad. You do not ring in decaf or non-fat because those do not cost anything. They are simply ways of “modifying” the drink. However, you do have to mark all of that on the cup so that the barista knows the details of the drink inorder to make it correctly.

I thoroughly, THOROUGHLY enjoyed standing at the register today and saying over and over again, “Hi, welcome to Starbucks. What can I get started for you today?” And I’m sure, if I could in any means enjoy it today, I will SO MUCH MORE enjoy it when I know what in the world I’m doing!!!

9 Best Sites To Read Reviews Before You Buy An iPhone App

As there are hundreds of applications available on Apple App Store for iPhones it is tough to decide which application to buy or not to buy.

Another unfortunate issue is that there is no way to try an application before purchasing. App Store does not provide any demo version of applications to download and try them.

iPhone App review sites comes very handy to know about an application before shelling out your hard earned money. Check out a list of great web sites that provide detailed reviews of iPhone Apps.

1. AppVee

AppVee understood that it is unfortunate that we cant try an application before purchasing and they provide a demo video of the application as part of their review. AppVee is a great web site for detailed review of iPhone Apps along with video demonstrations.

visit AppVee.com

2. Apple iPhone School

Apple iPhone School has mini reviews of the applications with loads of pictures and occasional video demos. This site also hosts reviews on the process of jail breaking the iPhone and the applications that run on jail broken iPhones.

visit Apple iPhone School

3. What’s On iPhone

The mission of What’s On iPhone is to review the latest applications, be the forum of iPhone and provide application resources. With a great team of engineers, writers, home makers and other professionals What’s On iPhone provides excellent reviews.

visit What’s On iPhone

4. iUseThis

The iUseThis iPhone application review website stands out from the rest of the review sites by providing the count of people really using the application. This makes it easy to decide which one to buy if you have more than one application in the same arena.

visit iUseThis

5. App Store Apps

App Store Apps web site hosts a list of Top 100 Paid and Top 100 Free applications. So if you are a new iPhone owner browse the tow lists to get a glimpse of best of iPhone Applications available for you.

visit App Store Apps

Blogs

There are few blogs that post reviews of interesting iPhone applications and provide good insight information

  1. The Gizmodo iPhone App Reviews
  2. Ars Technica iPhone App Reviews
  3. iPhone Alley iPhone App Reviews
  4. Life Hacker iPhone App Reviews

Source:TechDreams


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