I’ve been struggling about the decision to get a Starbucks Gold card since they came out. My day job is working with customer loyalty platforms so I’m rather suspicious when anyone comes out with a loyalty program that you have to pay up front for. The Starbucks Gold program is $25 per year (really 380 days) and I thought it would be good to take a detailed look at what you get for that and if it’s a good deal or not. The first thing to consider is what are you going to get with Gold over regular registered card. The regular registered card is free as long as you put some balance on it and register it online.
|Standard registered Card||Gold registered Card|
So the main difference of ongoing benefit of the Gold card over the regular registered rewards card is the 10% off most purchases. If your planning to get an espresso machine or coffee maker in the near future this is probably going to seal the deal on it being worthwhile to get the Gold card. Also if you buy your whole beans at a Starbucks store it’s likely worthwhile to get the Gold card. The Exclusive offers and discounts can’t really be factored in due to there being no disclosure on what those are so we really need to assume those don’t exist or have zero value.
Strictly from a mathematical standpoint the determination of if the Gold card would pay off for me is easy to calculate. I purchase about 5 Cafe’ Americanos a week at $2.70 each for the Venti size. Don’t judge me it’s close to my work and a guilty pleasure. I’m no fan of the brewed coffee there but the Americano is actually a pretty decent cup of coffee and there are no other options for an espresso drink within 10 miles of my work place.
Lets determine how long it would take me to pay off the Gold card through normal purchasing habits.
$25 Gold Card fee – $2.70 for my first free drink with card purchase leaves $22.30 to make up. For each cup of coffee I buy with the Gold card I’m going to get $0.27 off of each cup. So if we divide $22.30 by $0.27 that means it will take approximately 82.6 cups of coffee to pay for the Gold card. At 5 cups of coffee a week that is 16 weeks just to make up the card cost.
There are 52 weeks in the year so that means I’ll be using my Gold card for 36 weeks after I’ve made up for it. The remaining 36 weeks will amount to 180 cups of coffee and multiplying that by the $0.27 a cup discount comes out to a whopping $48.60 in savings. This is a pretty decent deal even if I never buy anything but my usual coffee that I’m going to be buying anyway. I’ll be picking one up on Monday when I stop in for my daily coffee.
You’ll have to do the math yourself on your own normal drink and frequency of purchasing to determine if it’s a good deal for you or not. If you get a drink with Soy in it I think the upcharge for that is $0.40 so that may be more worthwhile than the 10% off you would be getting from using a Gold card.
To find out for yourself you can use our approximate Gold Card value calculator below. Simply enter the coffees you drink per week and the price of your normal coffee and press the button and it will tell you the numbers for your situation.
The math is approximate due to rounding but is a good representation of your savings. If you come up with a negative number then the gold card is probably not a good deal for you unless you buy lots of whole bean coffee or other items.
Microsoft released something neat today which is kind of like a QR code but links to an online database for the information. I kind of like this better than trying to embed all of the information in the code. This allows for a more rich system of tags that link to greater information. The downside of course is you cant take a picture off of a poster in the airport and install an application without having some internet connection like you can with a QR code.
At any rate here is the first tag I made that links to the ceTwit download page. I’m going to put it on the downloads page so anyone can just take a picture of it with their phone and direct link to the download page for the applications. You can get the Tag reader software in the AppStore for iPhone or via gettag.mobi for all other supported phones.
There is additional information about Microsoft Tag here at istartedsomething.com
ceTwit has been updated with some additional error handling for empty responses back from the twitter API. I have seen a few of these doing test posts and had some users report the same and it was causing a crash. ceTwit for windows mobile professional has also been updated to better render the zoomed in view on square resolution devices such as the treo pro.
The build is available on the download page or via the in application upgrade process. [download]
Emacs is a great text and code editor but it can be very confusing for someone trying to learn to use it. After you read this you should feel comfortable launching emacs and opening a file, editing the file and using copy/paste. Future articles will investigate installing add on lisp files such as a mode just for php or even a twitter client. Installing emacs is outside of the scope of this article but I’m going to direct you to the following two distributions for windows and OS X users in case you want to try it but don’t have it installed. Linux users should search out a tutorial for installing it on your particular distribution for Debian/Ubuntu its normally as simple as apt-get install emacs.
Before we begin a quick note on keyboard commands in this article as well as most emacs documentation. There are special keys designated as M and C which typically are the Esc and Control keys respectively. On older keyboards the M key was the meta key on most modern keyboards they can be used as the Esc and Control keys. The M is commonly referred to as the Meta key and if your keyboard doesn’t have it just use the Escape key. It’s a good habit to get into to use the Escape key anyway that way if you float from keyboard to keyboard you won’t be reliant on the meta key for quick command entry.
The easiest way to get started is to just launch emacs via your operating systems preferred method and then open a file. To open a file your going to use the key combination involving the control key. The Open File command is C-x C-f that means type control-x followed by control-f. After the open file command is entered you will get a prompt asking for the filename. You can either type the name of an existing file or a new name to create a new file. As a handy tip you can use the tab key for filename completion. You can for instance type “te” and hit tab to automatically fill in testfile.txt provided testfile.txt exists in the current directory.
Once you have the filename entered simply hit enter and it will either load or create the file and you’ll be ready for editing. The next thing you should investigate is how to move around in a file. Most emacs installations will allow you to use the arrow keys for movement but the basic method for movement involves using the control key and 4 directional keys. There are also more complicated methods of moving by word or page/screen.
Now you have a good basic understanding of how to open a file and move around in it we can take a quick look at how to save. Saving your file can be accomplished with the C-x C-s command, that is type control-x followed by control-s.
Copy/Paste is one of the things that I think confuses most people in editors like VI and emacs that don’t rely on a mouse. Emacs is fairly straightforward for copy/cut and paste. There is a fast way if you wish to just move an entire line do the following
C-k will cut everything from where the cursor is until the end of the line. It looks like you just deleted the whole line but what you actually did was cut that text as if you were placing it on the clipboard. To place the text back at a different location you can use the keyboard command C-y to yank that text back into your document.
To mark an area of text such as several lines or an entire paragraph you can use C-space to indicate the start of the selection area and then move your cursor to the end of your desired text and type M-w to copy that region of text. If you want to cut the text rather than copy it you would use C-w instead of M-w. Now that you have the text copied or cut you can use the same C-y to yank it back into the document at the location of your cursor.
To recap the copy a region and paste it elsewhere do the following:
If you want to cut rather than copy you can use C-w instead of M-w and when you type the C-w at the end of the region your selecting the text will be removed from your current location back to the location where you hit C-space.
If you get into trouble just type C-g a few times to abort whatever you have partially entered into the command area. Another useful item is undo which is C-x u that is control-x then ‘u’.
Getting started command summary:
The below image links to a quick one minute screencast of the information covered in this post.
You can find a handy emacs reference card here that I’d recommend printing out and keeping handy as you begin using emacs. In future posts I’ll further explore using emacs for more complicated things like spell checking and special modes for editing source code and using split windows.
Ok ok I’ve been critical of the AppStore latelly but I have one more in me. I feel like I’m able to judge the start of the downfall of society based on recent AppStore submissions and approvals. I mean how many Fart applications do we need, iFart, uFart, iFartz, iToot? I really like having all of the applications for my phone in one place but I guess there is a downside of having ALL of the applications in one place and it’s that all the crappy ones are in one place also. The term Idiocracy comes from a Mike Judge movie that is worth checking out. It’s a decent social commentary on where society is going in the next 500 years ro so. From the IMDB blurb:
Private Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive.
It certainly feels like the dumbing down of society is happening when a great percentage of applications being written for the iPhone are are flatulence related. Maybe this is all due to the backlog of applications that couldn’t be approved until the rating system was done but lets hope this constipation of bowel related applications ends soon and we get things moving on to more useful things.
I’m all for toilet humor, it’s funny every time but just seems to be an overload of duplicated apps rolling in at the moment.