Archive for the ‘Websites’ Category

Wow Google Maps…

13 Oct 2017

I’ve never noticed this before… or maybe it’s a new feature that Google recently added.

Click each of the links below to look at different satellite views of the Los Angeles area:


What’s missing? Cars on the freeways! I can’t believe if missed this before! I looked all over the freeways around LA, and except for a few anomalies, it looks like Google has removed vehicles from the roads! Considering that they have a bazillion photos (not a real number, it’s just obvious that they have a huge number of pics) of all kinds of terrain and roadways, that must be a pretty amazing algorithm to automate the removal of vehicles from the roads.

Wow Google Maps... |

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Posted in Software, Technology, Websites


MoviePass – Better Than a Gym Membership

16 Sep 2017

MoviePass – Better Than a Gym Membership | DaveTavres.comI love business. Especially small business. And I love to see ideas grow from a couple of people at a kitchen table, to something that goes viral. And I especially love seeing one type of business plan applied to something that looks completely different (but actually isn’t.) That’s MoviePass.

MoviePass is a month-to-month membership site that (now,) lets you watch an ‘unlimited’ number of movies in the movie theater for the low monthly price of… $9.95. Yes – less than the price of a single ticket. With e-ticketing, or a physical card, you can go to a surprising number of theater chains to see any standard movie (standard means no 3D, no IMAX, no D-BOX, etc.) So, what’s the catch? Read on… But for the moment, look at MoviePass as being basically the same idea as Netflix or a monthly membership to Planet Fitness.

Discount theater tickets |

HOW is it the same as a gym membership or a streaming video service? I’m sure there’s a technical, economics term for it, but in regular words – people are more likely to pay for it and not use it, than those who pay for it and over-use it. At $10 per month, most people don’t think twice about that “small” amount of money being automatically charged to their credit card. Especially since the average cable bill in the US pays over $100 per month. Add on to that, Netflix at $10/mnth, Hulu at $8/mnth, and anywhere from $20 to $150 per month on a ‘subscription boxes‘, plus the daily Starbucks charges. Most people just don’t think about such a “small” amount of money for something they thought was a good idea one day – but often forget about the next. And just like that gym membership people sign up for but don’t use, they keep charging your card each month until you cancel it. Brilliant! Charging you for a service that you rarely use. That’s money in the bank – for the business.

Sure, there are people like me who will get every penny’s worth of using MoviePass, but I’m unusual. And just like how Expedia and Kayak and Orbitz and Travelocity and Priceline work, I’m pretty sure that MoviePass is just buying “tickets” in bulk, at a good discount from these chains around the Country, then letting you grab the seats (or tickets) if there’s any left for that movie. It seems to have worked for the travel companies. And there’s lots of hotel rooms and airline seats that get purchased but never sold, because the those online sites have done the detailed math to figure out how to charge just the right amount to make a good profit.

MoviePass... like Orbitz and Planet Fitness | DaveTavres.comAnd, along with copying a couple of good business plans, MoviePass is also ‘assured’ cooperation from the theater chains, because the movie theaters are losing a lot of money to home entertainment systems (and lots of awful movies getting made!) As long as the box office sales are down, theaters will happily sell those otherwise empty seats to MoviePass. I’m just wondering how long before Priceline and Orbitz ‘copy & paste’ their algorithms for plane tickets, to the movie theater tickets and cash in there too – or, until people start dropping MoviePass because they only have “3 tickets” for ‘that’ movie at ‘that’ time. When subscribers figure out that they aren’t getting their moneys worth because there’s no inventory, even though they’re paying the monthly fee, they’ll be searching for “how to cancel my account.”

Well, until that happens, I’ll give them $10/mnth and take advantage of a good, ‘new’ idea. Let’s just hope it’s not as difficult and frustrating to cancel MoviePass, as it is to cancel your cable subscription.

UPDATE – November 1, 2017

Okay, it took 30 days to get my card. But, considering that they got SLAMMED, that’s cool.

And I’ve now used it 4 times… and each time it was flawless. When I parked – but before I get out of the car – I “check in” on the mobile app. It says I have 30 minutes to make the purchase. I get to the window and tell them which movie and I swipe my “MoviePass MasterCard”; the charge goes through, and I get my ticket. (I even get the ‘loyalty points’ when they scan my loyalty app!)

I’m going to take an updated guess to what I wrote above though. Now, I’m thinking they are NOT buying seats in every theater – I think it’s just a numbers game. I think MoviePass has figured out how to ‘put money in my account’ – that is, my ‘MoviePass MasterCard” – to cover the cost of a standard movie at the theater I’m going to. And since I have to ‘check in’ to that theater/movie, they know how much the ‘standard’ ticket costs.

I think the ‘numbers game’ they are playing is just like I said above… like a gym membership. While *I* may use it 2-4 times a month, I think they’re betting that a large percentage of people will sign up and only use it once a month… or less… which leaves the money ‘in the bank’.

So, I’m pretty sure that I could ‘check in’ to ANY movie in the app and pay for it with the card, since the theater doesn’t send movie details in the credit card transaction.

I’d still say this is a worthwhile membership (while it lasts.) If you use it just ONE TIME per month, you’ve already saved money (at least for movies in LA, since standard tickets are $12-$16 each.)

Sign up here –

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LinkedIn Invites…

25 Aug 2017

We all know that Facebook is the ‘social’ networking site, and LinkedIn is the ‘business’ networking site. Facebook is pretty easy – when you get an invite from someone you don’t know, you ignore the invite. They’re probably scammers/spammers trying to get access to your friends list.

But for business networking, it’s more difficult. I’ve met a lot of people over the years in business, and I don’t always remember them. Or, they’ve been referred to me by someone I do know. However, there are also a lot of time wasters on LinkedIn. People who send invites just to bump up their ‘reach’ for sending junk. And that’s where the LinkedIn invite system is broken.

LinkedIn Invites... |

Right now, if you invite someone to connect on LinkedIn, the default message is "Hi Dave, I’d like to join your LinkedIn network." I RARELY accept those invites when I don’t personally know the person. Instead, those people should be WRITING SOMETHING in that box that tells me WHY they want to connect. They may have a very good reason for wanting to reach me. But if they don’t take the… 7 seconds… to write something in the text box before hitting ‘send’, I will assume they are time wasters.

If LinkedIn would just clear that text box and require that the sender write something in there, it would make for MUCH better business connections, because people would have to say something. Sure, it might slow down the number of "connections" that people have, but that’s a good thing. Why? Because business networking is POINTLESS if you don’t actually know the people in your network!

Multiple times I’ve tried to get introductions to people via LinkedIn for legitimate business reasons, by reaching out to someone I know (and am connected to on LI) – just to be told by my connection "Oh, I don’t actually know that person. They just sent me an invite and I accepted it." That’s where LinkedIn breaks down as a business tool.

If I’m looking for a local auto mechanic and I ask my neighbor who worked on his car, he can give me the name and location of the shop and tell me if they did a good job. But if that same neighbor just says "Oh, here’s a random shop that I’ve seen on the drive home.", that’s a useless, unqualified recommendation. Just like when people accept any invite that comes their way on LinkedIn.

My LinkedIn profile is pretty clean. I’d bet that 98% of all my connections are people I personally know or have done business with. And even with that, I don’t usually connect with social friends on LinkedIn – only people I’ve worked with, done business with, or who I know what they do. So if you need an introduction from MY LI network, there’s a pretty good chance I can connect you in a meaningful way.

I might even go so far as to suggest that people start pruning their LinkedIn network. Clean out the random connections and stick to business. If you can’t explain what someone does or how you know them, they probably are not a real business connection.

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Posted in Technology, Websites


Cleaning up fake profiles on Facebook

20 May 2017

When you get friend requests from fake profiles on Facebook, you need to do this to help stop the spammers / scammers / phishers from suckering other people.

  1. Open the profile of the friend request.
  2. Click the 3 dots next to the ‘message’ button.
  3. Choose "Report".
    Choose "Report" |
  4. Choose "Report this profile", and click Continue.
    Choose "Report this profile", and click Continue |
  5. Choose "This is a fake account", and click Continue.
    Choose "This is a fake account", and click Continue |
  6. Click "Submit to Facebook for Review", then click Done.
    Click "Submit to Facebook for Review", then click Done |
  7. At the top of the page, click "Delete Request", then click "Mark as Spam".
    At the top of the page, click "Delete Request", then click "Mark as Spam" |
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Posted in Technology, Websites


The end of Google Keep…

22 Apr 2017

Google Keep | DaveTavres.comWell, it looks like the end of #GoogleKeep… Keep has been a GREAT tool, but Google just removed Keep support from Google Home. Probably a sign that they will be killing #Keep :(

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Posted in Business, Software, Technology, Websites