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Jul 07, 2010

Great Shanghai Hotel: Marriott Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel

by J. Robert Burgoyne — last modified Jul 08, 2010 02:05 PM
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Shanghai hotels have gone up in price over the last few years, and with Expo 2010 Shanghai, competition for affordable hotel rooms is fierce. Accordingly, when I was in Shanghai in May, 2010 I gave up on finding a cheap hotel and opted instead for a great, luxurious hotel: The Marriott Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden. Address: 159 South He Nan Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai.

 

Rooftop view from the Marriott Renaissance Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel

It's not often that I'm willing to pay US$300 for a hotel room for a single night. 

But my Marriott Rewards Points were sufficient to pay for a free night, so I redeemed the points in the morning and was checked into my room by the afternoon. The room was fabulous, modern, 5 stars by any measure, with great service and amenities. 

Club-level rooms grant you access to a superb 24 hour private club, with floor-to-ceiling windows displaying a view similar to what you see above, as well as newspapers, TV, Internet, and all the food and drink you need. The roof has a spa, balcony, exercise room, and a glass-walled swimming pool. Even though the hotel was mostly full, I had the pool entirely to myself. 

Staff were courteous throughout, and I explained to a few younger staff about Marriott's origins in the Washington, DC area, and present-day headquarters in my hometown: Bethesda, Maryland. I told them they had a terrific employer and to stick with the company. 

Thanks, Marriott!

Jun 22, 2010

TB's Photographer

by J. Robert Burgoyne — last modified Jun 23, 2010 01:45 PM
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After years of using our own portrait photographs on our website, in April, 2010 we decided to hire a professional photographer, Scott Robinson of Chevy Chase, Maryland, aka: The Picture Coach.

Photographer Scott Robinson and True Blade co-founder Eric Smith knew each other through social activities. 

Eric had been impressed for some time with Scott's photos so we hired him to do our own photos. We're delighted with the results.  

Scott Robinson's website is: ThePictureCoach.com

Oct 25, 2009

Phone and DSL Troubles in Manhattan

by J. Robert Burgoyne — last modified Oct 26, 2009 09:00 PM
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Last Friday there was a big storm in New York City with pouring rain and high winds. This morning one of our clients lost two of their analog phone lies, as well as their Fax line, which carries their DSL. Repairs will take at least 24 hours, meaning the client will be without Internet for at least 24 hours. This is not the first time this has happened to this client. If you're in Manhattan and have analog phone lines or DSL, read on.

 

In Manhattan, many analog phone lines are still carried over copper wire pairs owned and managed by Verizon.

Many DSL circuits are carried over the same copper wire pairs. This is generally true regardless of who your DSL provider is. The copper wire pairs from the phone company's facility (Central Office = CO) to your premises may be old and their protective insulation may be faulty, leading to problems during or after adverse weather. In some cases the wiring may be 50 years old or more. I've seen the wires; they're ugly and need to be entirely replaced.

Reality Check: These are the same wires that your business may be depending on for your phone lines and Internet. I find this unacceptable, so it's important to take steps to mitigate the risk to your business. 

What can you do?

First, you need to assume that your phone lines and DSL might go down at any time, without advance warning or notification. Given this, what might you do during an outage? Cell phones come in handy as a telephone substitute, but many businesses don't have an Internet backup or substitute. As the Internet becomes a more critical part of your business, it's important to understand that you may have this vulnerability. Our client's last DSL outage, in September, lasted almost 2 weeks. Their DSL vendor is Covad, and Covad uses Verizon to manage the wiring from the CO to the client's facility. It's not a smooth process to get problems resolved and the diagnostic phone calls with Covad invariably take 30 minutes or more, just to get to a diagnosis. Repairs can take longer. I've experienced Verizon residential DSL outages of similar duration.

If you'd like more information about creating more reliable Internet connectivity for your office or home, contact us and we'll tell you what to do.