Cool Tech at PDX

Columbia Sportswear's Interactive Display Window

Columbia Sportswear's Interactive Display Window

On Wednesday I went down to PDX to pick up family vising in Portland for the Thanksgiving holiday. As I waited for them to get off the plane and clear the security checkpoint I played around with the window display at the new Columbia Sportswear store (which is right before the security checkpoint at the A, B and C gates).

The Columbia Sportswear store has an interactive display window. You can touch the various icons on the window itself to get information about Columbia Sportswear and to play videos of their products in use. Most people standing around the window didn't realize that you could interact with it, but the reception to it was pretty good when my daughter stepped up and started playing Warren Miller snowboarding videos on the full display window.

The opportunities for a rich interactive retail experiences are so vast and it's nice to see a non-technology company like Columbia Sportswear embrace new technologies for one of their keystone stores. Who knows maybe Microsoft will start promoting this technology as "Windows for Display Windows".

Oregon: a one-party state? – Yellow Journalism at Its Finest

7417375_300This morning I was reading The Oregonian and flipped to the Metro section.

Steve Dunn had a fairly wound licking piece about how Republicans in Oregon need to pick up the pieces and regroup. Dunn and I don't see eye to eye, but his column is commentary.  So truth in advertising. Right?

Next I read the front page metro headlining piece (above the fold): Oregon: a one-party state? written by Janie Har and Bill Graves. If anyone is left out there that still believes that there's such thing as the "Liberal Media", you'll want to sit down for this one:

Emboldened by Election Night wins across Oregon, Democrats now have unbridled power to raise taxes and fees when they meet in January

What the fuck?  This opening in an article that is labeled as a news story isn't a quote or any other external reference by the authors, it's an out and out slam against liberals as "Tax and Spend". The article goes on to talk about how the Democrats are in control of the state legislature but might be restrained by the expectations of voters, some of which tend towards more conservative views.

At a core I think questioning a one-party dominated legislature is more than fair. Any time one party has a majority it's important for the media to make sure there's transparency and accountability. But this article is just absurd. It's been one day since Barak Obama made his moving speech about people from both parties coming together and working together on the problems that face us. To have such an out and out partisan slam in The Oregonian as a news article is just out of bounds, so much so that I'd say it's not Red or Blue but Yellow Journalism.

Interestingly you won't find Oregon: a one-party state? online at Oregon Live anymore, the piece seems to have been pulled from their online edition.

Vote With Your Dollars

voteWith the presidential election looming most people are myopically focused on voting for president, but the second most important vote you can make right now is with your dollars. Times are tough and not all businesses are going to survive this recession. Already this month three notable eateries have announced that they are shuttering their doors (Rocket, Mercado and Banh Cuon Tan Dinh)  and more are soon to follow.

The dollar may be down on the world market, but it's never been stronger here at home. With each dollar you spend you are making a vote, you're voting for the business that you give your money to and perhaps voting against the places you aren't. During tough economic times people often default to the lowest cost option out there. Companies like McDonald's and Wal-Mart thrive because people think they get more for less there – something in tough times sounds appealing. If this current economic mess has taught us anything it's there's absolutely no such thing as a free lunch and today's low low deal might have some unintended consequences tomorrow.

So I encourage you to think about the long haul. Want a beer? Skip Rock Bottom Brewery and pick your beer up at Belmont Station. Want a movie? Rather than Netflixing it ensure the future of independent cinema and local art houses and catch a movie at the Hollywood Theater or Cinema 21.  Want some food? Support local farmers at your local farmer's market or visit the People's Food Coop Farmer's Market.  Chose Voodoo Doughnuts over Krispie Kreme,  Laughing Planet or Los Gorditos over Taco Bell, Pad Thai Kitchen over TGIFridays…. and yes Stumptown, Cellar Door and Z Beans over Starbucks.

There's never been a time in your life where what you spend and where you spend has mattered more. So pick the places you love and give them your business, odds are they'll be around to thank you when this whole economic mess is all over.

What local business are you rooting for to survive? Post your favorite in the comments!