Well, there’s not going to be any cute anniversaries or dates of note out of Chase’s Almanac. I just got into Florida and the book is in Pittsburgh. I haven’t been blogging because we started a Groupon campaign and besides being busy with that and preparing The Parador for my absence, it’s been a busy week. I am leaving my realm in Ty’s very capable hands.
OK, you’re not going to learn something here, I’m just musing. We’ve had all this hacking into computer systems of banks, entertainment companies, retailers, government anything and everything. There’s valuable things all over the place. I have various amounts of cash. The most insignificant daily cash I keep in my wallet. Something more substantial I may need in the short term I keep tucked away in the Office. Operating income for my business I keep in a bank. A very simple example. I don’t understand why Sony would keep such valuable information in their “wallet”. Cyber security should take a similar tiered approach, first line of defense. The American Military invented the Internet and now it’s run by a multinational organization. I don’t recall their name, but they recently opened up all kinds of new domains. Why can’t they create a .bank, a real .usgov, a .utilities, etc that are super secure and require super passwords? I don’t deal with big banks, but say I’m a Citibank customer, I enter their customer site and do my transactions, check my balance, pay a bill, etc. But I can’t get outside my account. The guts of the banking system is only accessible by the “super passwords”. I absolutely understand I don’t understand how the Internet works, but sometimes “from the mouth of babes” comes thoughts that those entrenched don’t see the forest for the trees. (Not that I’m saying I’m a “babe”)
This week is the annual Pittsburgh Restaurant Week. More than 60 restaurants are participating this year. That’s up from around 30 since it restarted in 2012. Typically participating restaurants have a special meal for the week at an affordable price of around $20 or specials geared toward showcasing their culinary expertise. It’s a great opportunity to sample new venues or just go back to an old favorite for something new. I had guests a while back that had recently retired and found themselves going to their favorite restaurants pretty much all the time. They were from a fairly good sized city in New York like Rochester or some place of a similar size that would have a lot of fine restaurants they figured they were missing. So they made a list of the restaurants in their city omitting fast food, fast casual, etc dining options. They started with A and worked their way down the list alphabetically, occasionally going back to one of their standbys, but started getting a lot more favorite restaurants. It’s always great to find something new and this is an opportunity to do just that.
I must say, I was surprised. Mayor Bill Peduto is a Miller Lite kind of guy. I do like a lot of things Mayor Peduto is doing and he seems so “with-it” being on top of emerging trends like Uber, Lyft, Tweeting, dedicated bike lanes, bringing 21st century technology into city government-I just assumed he would have been a fan of at least one of our great local beers. Micro beer connoisseur and Trib writer Chris Togneri seems to know Mayor Peduto and challenged him to a taste test at a local brew pub Independent Brewing Company in Squirrel Hill. So Chris contacted his friend that owns the Independent to help with an intervention.
Looking for a bargain? Try GovDeals, it’s a website that they sell confiscated airport items, airport items abandoned, government surplus, items confiscated in drug busts, etc. Even if you’re not really looking for the deal of the century, it’s an interesting place to see what weird things the government ends up having.
On a more serious note, Phipps’ Conservatory has teamed up with CMU students and RedHouse Communications to create a healthy food choice app you can take the the grocery store and really compare products and see how healthy (or unhealthy) products on the shelf are. You scan the bar code and not only does it compare apples to apples (some products say they only have 15 calories, but it’s for six ounces of chips as opposed to twelve ounces that seems to have more calories on a competitor’s listing). When you scan the code, if the product has a lot of bad things in it like fat, a red light flashes, if the product has a moderate amount of bad things, a yellow light flashes and if it’s healthy a green light flashes. It also helps clear the air about the claims that a product is organic or all-natural. The app is free and can be download for either iPhone or Android smart phones. More information can be found at their website let’s move.
They will be having a celebration at the Allegheny Cemetery on June 13 on the 151th anniversary of Stephen Foster’s death in Lawrenceville. the Allegheny Cemetery Historical Association is putting it together with Pittsburgh’s Center for American Music and plans on concerts, lectures and more. A free and fun excursion celebrating one of Pittsburgh’s own. More info at their website or by calling 412-6821624.
Pittsburgh is home to a new small business, The Pittsburgh Pickle Company. Three brothers Joey Robl, Will and John Patterson started with craft beer at their bar The BeerHive in the Strip and worked on perfecting the perfect pickle. They are in production at a local church with a commercial kitchen and are producing 900 25 ounce jars of pickles a month that sell for $6. Their pickles are only currently available at their bar and the 52nd Street Market in Lawrenceville.
My friends at ModCloth have taken a bold step, they’ve hired Matthew Kaness, Chief Strategist from Urban Outfitters day to day control of their company. My long time followers may recall that ModCloth had two photo shoots at The Parador. They even named a summer dress after us (that pretty much immediately sold out). Founded a few years ago by co-founder Susan & Eric Kroger as CMU students. Susan’s passion for retro clothing took her to local thrift shops finding retro clothing she found appealing. Demand from other students got so large that they embarked on creating their own retro style clothing lines.In 2010, it was ranked by Inc Magazine as the second fastest growing private company in the United States. Their main distribution center is in Crafton, as is most of their staff. They also have offices in LA and San Fransisco (where they now have their headquarters. Freeing Susan and Eric from the day to day operations will give them move time for creativity and turn over retail operations to someone that has the expertise to take them to the next level. Good luck guys!
Keeping the them going on Pittsburgh businesses (which pretty much what I try and do), Dynamic Inc in Harmar has developed a new credit card and it’s got the attention of MasterCard that just invested a ton of money in them. Most current American credit cards have the numbers embossed on the card that are easy to make a copy of the numbers. (Some newer cards have numbers not embossed). CMU graduate Jeffrey Mullen is CEO of this company and four of the numbers are not visible on the card. To activate the card, the card holder has to enter a PIN for those four numbers to be read by the credit card processing machine. As soon as the transaction is processed, the four numbers are erased and don’t appear again until the card is used again and the PIN is re-inserted. One of the objections to the microchip used in most other countries is retailers would have to purchase new processing machines and the cost of issue new cards to everyone. This sort of addresses both issues. Because of the size of our economy and our lack of more secure cards, nearly half of all credit card fraud happens in the US. Worldwide, credit card fraud is an $11B industry!
Well guys, it’s been a long drive and I’m tired. I should have time SITTING ON THE BEACH to have some time to talk to you while in vacation. Have great night and we’ll talk again soon,