Friday, October 21, 2011

Castaway's Lounge

Castaway Lounge 
U.S. 5, Whately, MA 01093(413) 665-8733

Castaways is a local strip club in the truest sense of the term. I used to stop by to have a drink or two most afternoon's when I was in college and it's not a bad place at all. The owner is a little much to take but unless your there a lot you usually just have to hear about him and not see him. It's open 5 days a week typically, not open sunday's and monday's but sometimes that changes during the year. The bar manager is great, keeps things running smoothly, just don't act like an asshole and you won't have any problems. Bouncers can be little mouthy but again as long as your not doing anything shouldn't be an issue. Prices are high if your just going for a drink because your paying for the entertainment too. There's a $5 cover charge after 5pm unless you go regularly enough to not worry about it. Bottles of beer are over $5 for a bud and a mix drink is $7-$9 which is about normal for a strip club in the area. Girls aren't bad, some very pretty girls at night and especially on weekend nights but there's always a few your going to want to avoid. You can tell right away the ones that have been there since about when you were born and should probably move on. No one is too pushy about private dances usually but it's worth the $20 for 2 songs if you have it. Tipping $1 at the stage is typical and not bad for a little show.
Liked: Service, Atmosphere, Value

Snowzee's-Sunderland, MA(formerly O's) Bar

330 Amherst Road, Sunderland, MA 01375-9311(413) 665-8788

Since the  purchase of the "Seven O's" recently it has now been changed to "Snowzees". Other then the lack of effort put into the name the bar is a quality hangout and on any given night has a mix of college students, young adults, middle aged couples and those single men and women we all love to see out at college bars drinking to their hearts desire. Prices are relatively low compared with going uptown Amherst and Northampton and there are several beers on tap along with a fully stocked bar. Wide open dance floor and a food shack outside in the parking lot are a few benefits that save you from an inebriated drive to get food. The position of the bar on 116 makes it a target for police and patrons would be best served to have a designated driver and adhere to that policy because going in either direction it's a minefield to drive. There is a bus stop across the street though so that's always an option for college students while the bus is running.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Google Engineer trashes Amazon and Google+ in ACCIDENTAL PUBLIC POST

There's been a lot of talk about Google+ and how it might compete against Facebook, but one Googler accidentally voiced his opinion on the subject last night in a Google+ post that quickly went viral.
Google engineer Steve Yegge posted a lengthy note on Google+ that touched on his days at Amazon (overseen by the "Dread Pirate Bezos"), Google's failure to understand platforms, his concerns about Facebook, how Apple "gets it," and what Google needs to do to excel.
One problem—the post was only supposed to be viewable by Google folks, internally. But Yegge mistakenly made the post public, much to the delight of his followers and the tech community.
After discovering the mistake, Yegge decided to delete the post (though he was not asked to do so by Google) because it was "really a private conversation between me and my peers and co-workers at Google," he wrote in an update post. He also noted that "even now, after six years, I know astoundingly little about Google," so his words should not be taken as gospel.
Thanks to the power of the Google+ share button, however, the entire rant is available on some of his followers' pages. What did Yegge have to say? It's a doozy.
Amazon: You're Doing It Wrong
Yegge started his post with an assessment of Amazon, where he worked for 6.5 years. In a nutshell, "Amazon does everything wrong, and Google does everything right," he wrote. Yegge criticized the company's hiring procedures, operations, charity giving, accommodations, compensation, and what he perceived to be lack of perks. Founder Jeff Bezos, he said, was "an infamous micro-manager" on the level of Steve Jobs, who made "ordinary control freaks look like stoned hippies." (Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.)
"But there's one thing they do really, really well that pretty much makes up for ALL of their political, philosophical and technical screw-ups," Yegge wrote. About a decade ago, Bezos realized that "that Amazon needs to be a platform."
"A product is useless without a platform, or more precisely and accurately, a platform-less product will always be replaced by an equivalent platform-ized product," Yegge wrote.
Google Doesn't Understand Platforms
While Amazon is humming along with its platform development, however, Google doesn't "get" platforms, Yegge said.
"I was kind of hoping that competitive pressure from Microsoft and Amazon and more recently Facebook would make us wake up collectively and start doing universal services," he wrote. "But no. No, it's like our tenth or eleventh priority."
Yegge pointed the finger at Google+, which he said "is a prime example of our complete failure to understand platforms from the very highest levels of executive leadership."
"The Golden Rule of platforms is that you Eat Your Own Dogfood. The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought," Yegge continued, pointing to the lack of an API at launch.
Microsoft and Apple both understand the dogfood rule, Yegge said. But "Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product."
Worried About Facebook?
"They worry me," Yegge wrote about Facebook.
"Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work," he said. "So Facebook is different for everyone."
Google, however, is two steps behind, Yegge argued. "Our Google+ team took a look at the aftermarket and said: 'Gosh, it looks like we need some games. Let's go contract someone to, um, write some games for us.' Do you begin to see how incredibly wrong that thinking is now? The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them."
Very few people have been able to do that, with Steve Jobs being the exception, Yegge said. "We don't have a Steve Jobs here. I'm sorry, but we don't."
Yegge suggested that Facebook would hire him away from Google, "but Google is home, so I'm insisting that we have this little family intervention, uncomfortable as it might be."
Dramatic Cultural Change
How does Google develop a platform and eat its own dog food? "It will take a dramatic cultural change in order for us to start catching up," Yegge wrote.
"We don't do internal service-oriented platforms, and we just as equally don't do external ones. This means that the 'not getting it' is endemic across the company: the PMs don't get it, the engineers don't get it, the product teams don't get it, nobody gets it," he wrote. "Even if individuals do, even if YOU do, it doesn't matter one bit unless we're treating it as an all-hands-on-deck emergency. We can't keep launching products and pretending we'll turn them into magical beautiful extensible platforms later. We've tried that and it's not working."

By:Steve Yegge

Vehicle Inspection Center-Greenfield, MA

Vehicle Inspection Center 
188 Federal Street, Greenfield, MA 01301-2780(413) 773-3770 
This inspection center is by far the best facility I have been to or seen in the area. While most of the local places to get an inspection are repair shops mainly and offer inspections on the side and therefor have very limited seating if any, no restrooms, ect this facility offers that and much more. They have 2 bays up and running at most times and as long as your not going at the very beginning of the month or the very end of the month there is little wait if any. They also offer the option of dropping your car off and then putting your registration, keys, and payment through a slot in the door so you don't have to wait which is a nice option to have. The "Vehicle Inspection Center" has a furnished waiting room with windows looking into the inspection area so your able to watch the inspection if you wish. There is a soda machine that offers a variety of drink options along with a water dispenser from poland springs to get cold water. There are 2 big couches, several chairs, and a few tables with a variety of magazines that are mostly car related. The only suggestion I would have is a little more variety in regards to the reading material like some sports illustrated, cosmopolitan, maybe a few different papers instead of just the local recorder. Overall, its a great facility and it's the best place for your car inspection needs in the area around greenfield, MA.

Greenfield Savings Bank-South Deerfield, MA branch
Greenfield Savings Bank 
61 North Main St, South Deerfield, MA 01373(413) 665-4011

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Categories:ATM Location, Bank

Transit: South Deerfield Center (451 ft S 

Your rating:
Greenfield Savings Bank has recently redone the building they reside in for the South Deerfield, MA branch and it came out beautiful. During construction it was somewhat annoying to continue to play the guessing game when it came time to figure out which door you had to go in that day because they worked on the building without closing the actual branch but that's a small price to pay considering they could have just closed the bank and forced all the customers to do their banking elsewhere or use another GSB branch in the meantime. The staff are all very helpful and pleasant, and the lines inside move quickly so there is not usually much of a wait if any. They offer free checking AND savings accounts with online billpay, debit card, and a free gift for opening an account included. The gift changes throughout the year, for example at one time it was an umbrella, another was a bbq knife, prong, and spatchulla grill set, and even a puree machine from black and decker was offered once. Most of the items are relatively high quality and more then you would expect from a giveaway. Something I thought was nice also was the bank provides a local branch phone number so you can deal with any problems immediately unlike a lot of the bigger banks that only offer 800 numbers and it takes 20 minutes just to figure out what you need and there is not a chance to get to an actual branch. Overall I would absolutely recommend GSB as an option for your banking needs if your in the Western Mass Franklin County area. They offer 6 different branches I believe and the main headquarter is in Greenfield, MA.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cliffside Apartments-Sunderland, MA

Cliffisde is an apartment complex that is relatively close to the Umass college campus as well as the other local surrounding colleges so it's popular with the college students living off campus that don't want to live in the frats/sororities and want more quiet then some of the closer complex's offer such as Pufton Village, Hobart Lane, the Townhouses ect. Cliffside offers free heat, hot water and electricity which is a great advantage during those colds New England Winters, and hot Summers. The only cable provider is Comcast or Direct TV and most people choose Comcast because you can bundle and get your cable, internet and phone together if you choose. There is a bus stop that runs to northampton, the local colleges as well as uptown amherst, hadley mall, holyoke mall and springfield. You have 7-11 store within 200 yards as well as Frontier Pizza and a laundromat. The 1 bedroom apartments come in 2 styles, kitchen with dishwasher or without and the bedrooms in equal size or 1 big and 1 about half the size. Overall it's not a bad place to live, management is somewhat obnoxious but with big companies as this complex is owned by, it's typical.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bridgeside Grill-Sunderland, MA

JoshuaDavid1121 ‎ - Oct 17, 2011
Since the place was refurnished a few years ago new ownership has done a great job with the look and feel. Everything is very clean and everyone is friendly. Beautiful place to sit outside in the summer and relax.
Liked: Food, Service, Atmosphere, Value

BBA Deli Market-South Deerfield, MA

Food is traditional polish selection and prepared and everyone working there is family, they happen to live above the market actually. It is cash only so just be aware ahead of time and try to avoid going between 1130-1230ish if possible because it is very very popular with the local high school students for lunch so it's mobbed during that time. There is deli meat and cheese available along with subs, potatoes,boneless chicken for a quick snack that they will heat up for you. I'd suggest staying away from some of the "grocery" items as many of them are close to out of date because that's not really what ppl go there for. Bread and rolls they sell fresh are fantastic along with dessert and snack options. Prices are very low for the quanity you get and portions of everything is HUGE. Def recommend this place if your in town.
Liked: Food, Service, Atmosphere, Value

Bank of America-South Deerfield, MA branch

I would highly recommend not using bank of america for your financial needs if you have other options in your area. I had an account only because they had purchased the smaller bank that I had an account at before and as long as nothing changed I had no problem keeping my account BA.

Originally the fact that I did not pay any fees in association with my account(checking or savings) kept me happy but once I started noticing charges for almost $10 a month on my account I went in to get an explanation because I was told that holdovers would be grandfathered in. I was informed that the policy has changed and now all account holders that did not meet minimum account balances requirements, ect would be charged a "nominal" fee. Well, to me that was not nominal considering that other banks I had seen advertising free checking accounts so I asked if there were any other options otherwise I would have to close my account and they then informed me that I qualified for a lower charge option and I decided to just leave my money where it was. The only reason I didn't change it then was because I had my IRA, checking, savings and debit card through BA and had those accounts saved to every credit card and bill that I had. Going through and changing all of those would have been more then a headache and a day's worth of work. I was pretty turned off by the fact that it took 3 visits before I was told about changing my account to the lower fee option though.

They go through "managers" like most businesses go through a Bj's size box of toilet paper....and I'm not kidding. That BJ's large size usually would last a businesses this size maybe 3-4 weeks I'd imagine. In the year that I started keeping track because the person I had been dealing with was transferred supposedly they had 8 different people in that role/title that I knew of and i'm sure there were other's since I obviously was not camping out at the bank. I know banks have a high turnover rate which is not a good thing for customers but that's just ridiculous. Everytime I started to feel comfortable with someone after explaining something that was wrong the next time I went in to follow up it was someone new and I'd have to explain all over again and deal with the anxiety of telling a stranger personal information.

Don't even get me started on the other fees that BA charges like overdraft fees of $39 per item, late fee of not covering the over charge of $39 and then it's something like $7 per day after that. So if you accidently went over your balance and purchased gum, gas and a soda that would be $117. Then if by chance you don't have it paid back ontime it's up to $156 and $7 each day after that. FOR $12 IN PURCHASES! You would think after explaining the situation most places would just simpily remove the charges or just charge the 39 initially if you can pay it off but nope it took me talking to 3 ppl to get this cleared up. Thank god I paid it 2 days later when I realized what happened or I'd have been in debt to them for life it seems. HAHA.

Do yourself a favor and just avoid this place.....a suggestion in my area is Greenfield Savings Bank, everyone from the manager to clerks to janitors are all great and more then helpful. Something like a fraudulent charge is cleared up within days I can count on 1 hand with the money credited back to my account within 24 hours. Now, THAT, is what banking should be!

Yankee Candle-South Deerfield, MA

The prices are outrageous for anyone that has anykind of budget seriously. Sometimes they have sales around christmas and other holidays and offer buy 1 get 1 free candles and sell the candles that get colored wrong for a good discount which brings them down to what you should be paying in the first place if the name YANKEE CANDLE wasn't on the label. It's a very nice building(the main one) and the additions they have made are beautiful including the car museum which has some amazing ones. If your young enough or have enough money then it's a place you could spend a whole afternoon but for me it's just not worth it. I can get the same quality candles at Walmart for 1/4th of the price literally. That's sad.