Kibbles and Bytes 486

I think I won the $1 bet with the Director of the Sugarbush Chamber of Commerce, Susan Roy, in predicting the date of “peak foliage” here in Vermont.   She picked October 10th and I selected October 4th.  I think peak occurred on October 3rd when I took the customer that had purchased our fall foliage ride in our last garage sale for a ride. Elliot joined Grace on the back of her bike and we went off with one of the local innkeepers for a great ride through what can only be called an autumn wonderland.   It was a great excuse to take a day off from work but I was able to stop at lunch and do an interview with a reporter from the Burlington Free Press.  Here’s a link to the story about our new store: BUSINESS/610050302/1003&theme=

After 30 years of trying to grow apples at my house we finally have a crop of delicious apples on our two baby apple trees.  Grace is promising me a sugarless Apple pie!  We are expecting nights in the 20’s this weekend so this will be the season-ending killing frost. Everyone is thinking about getting ready for winter.  We took the screens down and are mulching the plants and thinking about snow tires while the skiers are all predicting massive amounts of snow this year.  After last year’s disappointing warm weather and lack of snow, I’m sure that the ski areas agree with the forecast.  On the other hand, I read an article in the Boston Globe this morning that predicts our weather here in New England could be more like South Carolina by the end of the century if nothing is done to stem global warming.  The study by the Union of Concerned Scientists called for the Northeast states, which together are the seventh-largest emitter of carbon dioxide when ranked among the nations of the world, to make more use of renewable energy sources such as wind, drive fewer gas- guzzling vehicles, and make buildings more energy-efficient.  Hmm…I always wanted a milder climate but at what expense?  Here’s a link to that article: study_foresees_sultry_snow_starved_ne/

I want to thank everyone for your votes and suggestions for our new “tag-line”.  We had thousands of votes and some interesting suggestions.   I’ll let Ed and Geoff talk about the results but here’s a few of the more humorous entries:

Pawsitively awesome support

We’ll lick your computer problems!

Small Dog Electronics – The only vet you’ll ever need

feel free to pet us anytime!

Like squeak toys for humans

Old Dogs Teaching New Tricks

Small Dog Electronics – Keeping a leg up on the competition

Accordions are the Future! And small dogs too

the best burgers in town!

I am a brontosaurus

We are busy hiring new staff for the store and are finding a lot of very qualified people ready to work in our new store.  Hannah, Ed and Matt have been mudding and taping sheetrock, painting and we’ll start laying the floor this week.   We are hiring about a dozen new employees and will have a week of training coming up so that all these new folks understand our systems and policies but most importantly understand our commitment to providing extraordinary customer service.   We have scheduled our grand opening for October 28th and of course, you are all invited to a week-long series of events that we will be publicizing here in Kibbles and on our web site as we get closer to the date.


The Winner Is… By Geoff @

Wow – we had over 1100 votes and submissions in less than a week!  Of the people that voted for one of the three choices 68% chose Small Dog Electronics – Always By Your Side.  We have decided that the people have spoken, and we now have a new slogan. The line speaks not only to the loyalty we have to our customers and vice versa, but it also speaks to the superior customer service we endeavor to offer. It is all tied together with a reference to the companionship of a dog.

Small Dog Electronics – Always By Your Side!


Small Dog Wins a 5x5x5 Award for the Third Year in a Row!

For the third consecutive year, Small Dog Electronics has won a 5x5x5 Growth Award from KeyBank and Vermont Business Magazine. The 5x5x5 award recognizes five Vermont businesses across five industry sectors that have experienced the greatest revenue growth over the past five years. Last year, Small Dog won in the Technology sector, which was removed this year. This year we won in the retail sector.  We set up a small booth, and enjoyed meeting many other business leaders, as well as various media people and, of course, various politicians including the Governor of Vermont, Jim Douglas.

I love Vermont in part because our politicians are entirely accessible. Governor Douglas came into the award ceremony by himself, and walked around warmly greeting everyone. The Governor, a staunch Republican, knows Don Mayer from Don’s advocacy for equal access to healthcare and other issues not championed by most Republicans. However, the Governor is an affable person, and he took particular pleasure in greeting Don. For anyone who knows Don, it’s entertaining to see him schmoozing with the Governor.

You can see a photo of our mini-both here:

Here is a blurry photo of Don accepting the 5x5x5 award from Governor Douglas:


Let it Charge By Matt @

In processing iPod returns, many times the problem is simply a fully depleted battery.  Customers report that the iPod does not respond when plugged into a wall charger or the computer, but instead displays a battery icon with one bar that does not flash.  In most cases, leaving the iPod to charge for 30-60 minutes will revive it. If this doesn’t help, though, Apple outlines five steps to take (the five Rs):

1.  Reset your iPod. 2.  Retry with a different USB port. 3.  Restart your computer. 4.  Reinstall iPod and iTunes software. 5.  Restore you iPod.

While we’re talking about batteries, it never hurts to emphasize calibration.  After using your battery for a while, it’s possible you’ll notice reduced capacity.  Calibration restores the battery to its full functionality.  For iBooks, PowerBook G4, and iPod, plug the machine in and wait for it to fully charge.  On laptops, wait for the ring on the power adapter to turn green; on iPods, wait until the screen indicates “Charged.”  Now, disconnect the battery and run your computer or iPod until it goes to sleep.  Finally, plug it back in and fully charge again.

The procedure is slightly different for the very last generation PowerBook G4 (with the dual-layer SuperDrive and high-res screen), MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Pro (17-inch).  First, fully charge the machine.  Once fully charged, allow the battery to “rest” for at least two hours, then disconnect the power and run it until the machine goes to sleep.  Turn the computer off, or let it sleep, for at least five hours, then fully recharge.

Along these lines, iPod batteries tend not to last as long as laptop batteries.  If your iPod is more than a year old, Apple will not cover replacement of the battery…but Small Dog can help.  You can order replacement batteries for every kind of iPod for self- installation (we’ll send you instructions and an envelope to send us the old battery for proper disposal) or mail your iPod to us for professional installation.

Apple’s battery calibration page: article.html?artnum=86284 The Five Rs:


Goodbye, Fred Anderson By Ed @

In some unfortunate news, Fred Anderson, Apple board member and former CFO (1996 – 2004) has resigned from Apple’s board of directors. This comes after Apple came under investigation from the US Securities and Exchange Commission because of accounting errors and stock granting irregularities.

In it’s own internal  investigation, Apple uncovered stock-option backdating. Steve Jobs claimed he was knew about the practice, but didn’t understand it’s implications. Jobs was not implicated in the investigation, and he did not benefit from the backdating.

Backdating stock-options benefits insiders like this: a stock is granted on a set day at that day’s market price. If the recipient can have the granting date changed to a more favorable date (when the stock price is lower), they can potentially make much more money when they sell the stock. Recipients typically have to hold options for a set period before they can sell them, so having a favorable purchase date can be crucial to making a big gain.

As everyone knows, buy low, sell high.

The most recent irregularities relate to a January 2002 grant.

Apple missed the deadline for reporting their 3rd quarter filing because of the investigation, and NASDAQ threatened to delist Apple for not complying with it’s rules. More than 100 companies are currently under investigation for manipulating insider stock options.

Steve Jobs said “I apologize to Apple’s shareholders and employees for these problems, which happened on my watch. They are completely out of character for Apple. We will now work to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible and to put the proper remedial measures in place to ensure that this never happens again.”

Before Fred Anderson served on Apple’s board of directors, he was the companies CFO. He served from the pre-G3 era into the G5 and iPod era, from Apple’s darkest days into it’s amazing resurgence. As Steve Jobs  sought to turn the company around, he relied on Anderson extensively. It’s too bad his contributions to Apple will likely be diminished by this backdating scandal.


Getting Video From iPod to TV By Ed @

Several companies make cables with a 1/8” jack on one end, and RCA jacks on the the other end for connecting an iPod video or iPod photo (color LCD) to a television or stereo.

RCA jacks are the common cables with red and white plugs (for left and right stereo audio), and a yellow plug (for composite video.)

Apple, Belkin, and Marware manufacture and sell these cables, typically for $19.00 – $29.00.

My favorite of the bunch is made by Belkin. It’s very well built and easy to use – simply plug the 1/8” jack into the iPod video or iPod photo’s headphone port, or the line-out port on the iPod’s dock. Then connect the RCA plugs to your television or stereo. Within seconds, you can be watching video or a photo slideshow from the iPod on your television. Note that the iPod photo (4g) will only play photos and photo slideshows on the TV.

The show “Lost” begins it’s third season tomorrow. It’s one of my favorite TV shows currently in production. It’s also the only TV show I occasionally purchase from the iTunes Store. I don’t watch it on my iPod’s screen – I watch it on TV, via the Belkin AV cable. I have a friend who also loves “Lost,” but he lives in a rather remote part of Vermont where he does not receive the show. He bought the iTunes “Season Pass” for Lost, and used to watch it on his 17” PowerBook. Now, with his iPod video and the Belkin AV cable, he watches it on his big television. The iPod video and the iTunes store serve as a portable, multi-purpose Tivo-like device for him.

You can use the Belkin cable, or a similar cable, to watch movies stored on the iPod on your TV as well. This includes movies you purchase from the iTunes Store, or other iPod-compatible movies you have created, downloaded, or obtained.

See the Belkin cable here:


WeeMees By Holly Buttura Holly @

At Small Dog we use iChat so we aren’t chasing each other around the buildings trying to get answers to work related issues. My coworkers always have such interesting and creative icons in comparison to mine. I’ve used some of the ones Apple provides .Mac members but they seem so standard and boring.

This week I found something called a “WeeMee”; by answering some basic questions (male or female, round, oval or square face, etc.) and then adding clothing and accessories, the end result is a cute little cartoon image of yourself! According to their website, a WeeMee is a “cool graphic image… of you. You can use it wherever you go on the web — in messaging,  on your blog, in email, and more”. Another fun option is to create WeeMees of your friends (WeeBuddies) and then email them the results. You can also create WeeCards, which are similar to iCards but animated and pretty funny.

Do I think my WeeMee looks like me? I can definitely see the resemblance! (I’m using it on the Contact page so you can see what it looks like — It’s the first time I’ve liked the icon I’ve used in iChat.

You do have to register to generate a WeeMee. I suggest using FireFox because the site seems to act wonky in Safari. In order to use the image into iChat, you have to save the image to your desktop, but if you use AOL’s AIM as your instant messenger you can set it directly from Wee World.

It’s been a lot of fun to see what my co-workers come up with for the WeeMee representation. I did one for Hapy, complete in his standard checkered red kilt but alas, he has yet to use it. Maybe you can convince him too! 😉


Dogs & Socks By Holly Buttura (Holly @

Anyone whose had a dog has probably experienced their dog playing with their socks. Some may have even experienced the dog EATING socks — that’s something my male dog, Apollo, did for the first 3 years of his life.

I’ve never been one to wear socks with designs on them. However I recently stumbled across a Vermont company that designs novelty socks, and they have plethora of dog designs! I discovered them one day when I was in dire need of socks – on a cold damp September day and I was sockless. Brrrrr!  It may have been that combination that made me willing to buy this type of sock, but I was also very impressed with the quality of the sock as well the design.

“Wheel House Designs”: in Stowe, Vermont has been designing novelty socks and apparel since 1989. According to their website, their “cushioned socks are soft terry loop construction, which protects feet and reduces the shock of impact. They are engineered to provide protection against blisters and wicks away moisture to keep feet dry. Acrylic, the most widely used fiber for athletic socks is soft, washes well and holds its shape. Cotton is widely preferred for softness. Nylon is used for strength and spandex is great for stretching power. This style of socks makes a great sneaker sock. Perfect for hiking boots too.”

I picked up the “Dog House Black:”

and “Rhodesian Ridgeback:”

I am extremely impressed with how soft and cushioned they feel, especially for a sock without a lot of bulk. I’m also impressed I can easily wear my Nike sandals with them. Other regular cotton socks surprisingly have too much bulk and I can’t get the sandals on.

My Wheel House socks have quickly become my favorites socks to wear! I highly recommend visiting their website  — “http://”: —  to check out what designs they have, and they have a LOT! (not just dog designs either!)

For all Vermonters, Wheel House is having a sock sale on December 1, 2, 3 at their warehouse in Hyde Park. It’s a big sale with lots of savings on discontinued designs, samples and irregulars.

I’m also happy to say that Apollo hasn’t shown any interest in eating my new socks. I think it’s his way of saying, ‘These socks are too good to eat!’


start soapbox

What is Business Responsibility?

I am taping a debate with a gentleman from the Vermont Business Coalition for Channel 3’s “You Can Quote Me” Sunday morning talk show.  This coalition is a Political Action Committee (PAC) that is targeting Vermont legislators that they feel are “anti-business”. Unfortunately, their definition of anti-business is any legislator that votes for increases in the minimum wage, for health care reform or for any tax bill.   I will be representing Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.   While VBSR is strictly a non-partisan organization we feel that Vermont businesses are different and this coalition does not truly speak for Vermont businesses.   Our organization is the largest socially responsible business organization in the country with over 650 members representing about $3.5 Billion in annual revenue and employing over 35,000 employees.

VBSR’s mission is to advance a business ethic that values multiple bottom lines: economic, social, and environmental. We do this through:

* Education – Bringing together resources and information to help our members to meet their own goals for improving business practices and solving social, environmental and economic problems.

* Public Influence – Representing a socially responsible business ethic to the larger community, including news media and legislative bodies, to foster positive change and resist exploitation of our people, our state and our planet.

* Workplace Quality – Fostering a work environment and economic climate that enable every worker to earn a fair income safely, to contribute his or her labor to a high quality product or service, and to work and live with dignity and respect.

When you form a business you may “incorporate”.  This creates a new social entity, a corporation.  If you break that down to the latin base (this is where my 4-years of Latin in high school kicks in) to incorporate means to “create a body”.  As a member of society a corporation has responsibilities that goes beyond simply paying taxes.  A corporation has a much larger “footprint”  than any single person in terms of its impact upon the economy, the environment and the community.  As such it bears a greater responsibility.

As Small Dog Electronics enters this growth period and we hire new employees and expand our operations, Hapy and I have discussed the implications to our commitment to socially responsible business practices and have concluded that this is perhaps our most important time to re-commit ourselves to our social mission.   We ascribe to the concept of multiple bottom lines for business.   We recognize that profitability is a bottom line that is essential to business but we do not measure our success solely or most critically, based upon how much money we may accumulate.  We find that the quality of our workplace, the welfare of our employees, our impact upon the environment and our community involvement are all important measures of whether Small Dog Electronics is a success.

So when this coalition opposes health care reform, I do not think that they are speaking for Vermont businesses.  Most Vermont businesses DO provide health care insurance on some basis for their employees,  most Vermont employers pay well above the minimum wage and most Vermont businesses give back to the community. In fact, most Vermont businesses provide “livable jobs” that ensure that their employees can provide for their basic needs without the need for governmental assistance.

The Vermont Business Coalition is simply parroting that tired old line that all taxes are bad, that regulations are evil and that the only purpose of business is profits.   I certainly defend their right to participate in our democratic process and support candidates they feel are in-line with their beliefs, but perhaps they were not able to find any of those candidates because they have defaulted to attacking candidates that have voted for legislation that advances strong environmental and social legislation.  My message will be clear, that this group does not speak for Vermont businesses but is rather a reactionary voice with a negative message.  Businesses have a huge potential to do good in this world.  While I often will take jabs at Microsoft, I have a world of respect for Bill Gates and the foundation that he and his wife have formed to give back in a big way to society.

I think that the more you think about a business as a “body” in our community, the easier it is to understand a business’s social responsibility.   It is a responsibility we take very seriously at Small Dog Electronics.

What do you think about socially responsible business?  Share your opinion at the Small Dog soapbox:

end soapbox



Here are the specials for this week, valid through Friday, October 13th or while on-hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.


Love My MacBook Bundle (white) – MacCase 13″ sleeve, Marware kit, Snapballs, iKlear – $49


Love My MacBook Bundle (black) – MacCase 13″ sleeve, Marware kit, Snapballs, iKlear – $49


Over 2500 New and Apple Refurbished iPods in stock – one year warratny, starting at $139!


Belkin 12ft AV Cable for 4G/5G iPod – $17.00!


Olympus Stylus 750 Digital Camera 7.1 Megapixel (Black) + FREE 512 MB xD memory card – $399!


Save $20.00 on 12″ Crumpler Laptop Bags! Use coupon code crumpler12 when you place your order.

See them here: Powerbook%20Case/

Netgear 8 port Gigabit 10/100/1000 Switch – $63.00!


MacBook Pro 15in 2.16GHz 1gb/100/Superdrive, 3-Year Applecare Protection Plan – $2369!


LaCie 60GB Portable Brick Hard Drive USB2 5400rpm Red – Free shipping – $97!


Matias Laptop Armor Expandable Bag – $79!


Griffin RadioSHARK AM/FM USB radio and time shift – $48!


Apple Airport Extreme Base station with modem/antenna port – $145.00!


Attention Teachers & Students! Refurbished 15″ MacBook Pro / wMicrosoft Office


I’m going to see if I can help with the flooring project this weekend and will be heading up to St. Johnsbury for Stephen Huneck’s Dog Party (and his birthday).   We’ll bring Hammerhead and Fanny and try to keep Hammer from trying to swim.     Stephen is working with the Vermont Tourist Board to promote Vermont as a great place to bring a dog and we are getting involved in that program as a dog-friendly business.  It looks like a nice autumn weekend with cool temperatures and lots of sun.

I hope you have a great weekend and thanks for reading Kibbles & Bytes.

Your Kibbles Team,

Don, Ed, Holly, and Geoff


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