Open Letter to Yuk Yuk’s

Note: This is the second time an entertainment establishment in Vancouver has made dramatic alterations without any acknowledgment to their customers of the changes. Last time, my wife and I went to see Spinal Tap, only to discover TicketMaster had decided to move us from the orchestra to the last row of the balcony section. It appears that entertainment groups in Vancouver simply don’t understand how to communicate changes to their customers.

Dear Yuk Yuk’s:

My wife and I attended Yuk Yuk’s last night to see the 8pm ‘Garfunkel and Oates‘ show, who were previously advertised as your headline act for the night. It was the only reason I went. Not only did Garfunkel and Oates not play the gig, there was no notice to this effect at the box office or anywhere prior to the show. It wasn’t even acknowledged by the MC that the advertised headliners weren’t going to be playing.

I am aware that you state that “Acts are subject to change without notice.”; however, this as a legal term is only defensible in cases where a player or act is physically unable to make the gig (illness, accident, detention while crossing the border due to house arrest – I’m thinking of Andy Dick here, of course). To simply gloss over the fact that the very act people came to see won’t be playing the gig and attempt to hand-wave it away under this overly-broad disclaimer is poor form and, quite frankly, insulting to your customers. In other businesses, it’s called a bait-and-switch, and it’s illegal (for a reason).

In the future, it would be useful to at least acknowledge that the acts have changed. You’ll find that customers are a lot more forgiving if you communicate the change, than if they get to the end of the show and wonder why they didn’t end up seeing the very act they paid good money to see. It’s just good business.

Shelfari Scanner First Beta Released

Shelfari ScannerAnyone who has used one of the many online book review/inventory sites (such as Shelfari) knows how painful it can be to enter their inventory of books into these sites. Not only do you have to enter the data manually, but you’re likely to have to search through a page of results to try and find the right item/edition/version of your book. Which brings us to the purpose of this post…(subtle eh?)

Shelfari Scanner is an Adobe AIR-based application that turns any high-quality webcam into a barcode scanner you can use to quickly generate an inventory of your books suitable for use with Shelfari. The application uses my Scannerfly SDK to provide the barcode scanning capability, which provides barcode scanning that has been tested with the MacBook Pro’s internal iSight camera, but should also work with decent external webcams, or webcams with manual focus capabilities.

To install the application:

  1. Download and install Adobe AIR 1.5 or later (supported on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
  2. Download and run the Shelfari Scanner installer.

Once the application is installed, run the application, and grab a stack of books. To scan a book:

  • Make sure you have adequate lighting
  • Position the book so the three red lines in the Shelfari Scanner video window intersect with the book’s barcode
  • Each red scan line will show you where the application believes a barcode might exist with a blue line
  • When a barcode is detected, you’ll hear a beep, and the application will confirm the scanned barcode with a lookup on

Once you’ve scanned all your books, hit the save button to have Shelfari Scanner export an inventory file suitable for importing into Shelfari. Voila! You’re done!

This is, of course, a first pass at the application to get something out the door – if the response is positive, I’ll roll in feature requests posted in the comments as my time permits.