Friday, September 09, 2005

McDonald's digital experience leaves one journalist wanting

In an article by the Chicago Tribune's Trine Tsouderos a visit to a local McDonald's turns into a high-tech demonstration of fast-food franchise things to come, where you can watch high-def TV, print digital photos on photo kiosks, and yeah, you can even get fries with that. But not all of the experiences were good:

Besides burgers and fries, Oak Brook's sleek new McDonald's boasts two floors, great furniture, a coffee bar, Wi-Fi access and flat-screen TVs--which on the day I visited played either McDonald's commercials or CNN's blanket coverage of the London bombings--and other technological doo-dads designed to attract young, hip customers....

Inside this McDonald's is a pair of ATM-style kiosks, a handful of computer terminals and a posse of friendly, clean-cut and slightly harried-looking Blaze Net helpers. Blaze Net is the technology that allows McDonald's customers to burn CDs, print photos off their digital camera and download cell phone rings. When I visited, the kiosks and terminals had been running since spring.

With my digital camera in hand, I decided to give Blaze Net a whirl. The price was right--22 cents a print--and besides, a Blaze Net helper had already sidled up to me, promising to walk me through the process.

Unfortunately, despite good intentions, Blaze Net technology proved difficult to use and glitchy.

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