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http://www.delocator.net

from the website:

Cafés are vital social outposts that have historically provided subjective, social, local, and at times, irrational interaction, inspiration, and nourishment to artists, hipsters, musicians, activists, intellectuals, radicals, and others alike. Currently, independently owned cafés around the world are under aggressive attack; and their numbers have been sharply decreasing for many years. delocator.net is a means to preserve these local businesses.

Transnational corporations, like Starbucks, Diedrich, Gloria Jean's, and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf are at the forefront of this assault.

Delocate is a web-verb created for this project as a defense mechanism for independent business establishments.

Alistair Durie

Elysian Coffee

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Cool idea. I think I was actually there first with my espressotravelguide.com but with lack of money and no programming skills to speak of... that site is in limbo (but I still own the URL).

I love the of dea of delocator.net but their stated mission is to help folks find independent cafes. Two problems exist until they tighten up the engine...

1) You must enter the exact zipcode where a cafe is located. if it's in that general area but just over the line in another zipcode the locator will not show you "nearest to this zipcode".

2_ The first and only listing it brought up for 13210 (my old neighborhood) was a Starbucks. Huh? I thought it was supposed ot show you everythign but Starbucks or other corporate chains.

But guess what.... when I entered 13224 where I live... nothing. I enter 13210 and get Starbucks ( I live one block from the edge of 13210).

Now I enter 13203 where my employer has not one but TWO independent cafes in the same zip code. But guess who appears? the Starbucks form 13210! It shows as "nearest to 13203" . That negates my complaint in #1 but it's still a problem.

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I'm with Phaelon; all i could come up with is assorted starbucks locals. Great idea, but needs work.

A island in a lake, on a island in a lake, is where my house would be if I won the lottery.

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I did a bit more reading. It supposedly started as a sort of an art installation / community initiative with folks entering stuff into the database for CA only. It's up to the rest of us elsewhere in the country to enter the independent cafe's that we love and support (or are employed by!).

But it does not allow editing if you make any data entry mistakes and it allows Starbucks to be entered and located. I've gone ahead and added the the locations for the folks I work for part time but unless people take it on themselves to do that it won't be of much help to those of us who travel regularly and are always searching for a good cup.

It gets worse... I just entered 94597 for Walnut Creek CA where I'll be for a day next week on business. It pulled up a grand total of two "independent cafe's, both located in not-so-nearby Oakland, one of which actually appears to be a tamale joint. But it also listed 24 of the Green Mermaid's locations!!!

For the heck of it I entered 10010 - a central NYC zip code. It show 19 independent cafe's and 110 Starbucks.

Ouch. Did the 'bucks pay someone to write a script that entered every single one of their thousands of locations? What's up with that?

Here's where it gets interesting. The opening reception for the delocator.net project was held just a few days ago on April 1st, 2005 in San Francisco, supposedly funded by a generous donation from an independent cafe. It's difficult to believe that even the 'bucks could have caught on to this so quickly that they got countless locations added by "volunteers" and interested members of the community - unless there's more to the story.

Now it gets REALLY interesting. I did a "whois" search for the delocator.net domain name. However owns the domain name has paid for the "whoisprotector" service that shields their corporate or personal identity from those curious enough to look into it. Hmmmmm......

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Those bastards. And entering a real independent just gives em a target. Now we know what our intelligence people were doing instead of verifying whether or not there were WMD's.

A island in a lake, on a island in a lake, is where my house would be if I won the lottery.

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I've also been involved in a discussion of this over at the Barista Guild Board of the SCAA Forums.

It was correctly pointed out to me that the intended usage of the locator tool is to provide a comparative listing showing the disparity between the corporate behemoth and the independents. The develops released their database with all current US Starbucks locations already plugged in. These appear on the right side of the page and the indies (if any have been entered for that zip code) appear on the left.

I think the intended impact on the viewer is a bit lost in the translation. Until a large enough number of people enter the locations for independent coffeehouses the delocator seems to work best as a Starbucks locating service - a bit ironic don't you think?

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I've also been involved in a discussion of this over at the Barista Guild Board of the SCAA Forums.

It was correctly pointed out to me that the intended usage of the locator tool is to provide a comparative listing showing the disparity between the corporate behemoth and the independents.  The develops released their database with all current US Starbucks locations already plugged in. These appear on the right side of the page and the indies (if any have been entered for that zip code) appear on the left.

I think the intended impact on the viewer is a bit lost in the translation. Until a large enough number of people enter the locations for independent coffeehouses the delocator seems to work best as a Starbucks locating service - a bit ironic don't you think?

Why not just list the # of locations and a geographic radius instead of the street locations of each one then

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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I think the intended impact on the viewer is a bit lost in the translation. Until a large enough number of people enter the locations for independent coffeehouses the delocator seems to work best as a Starbucks locating service - a bit ironic don't you think?

It is a rather odd system, at least for now heavier in artistic message than functionality. The intention is intriguing, but the delivery so far is weak. It has been successful in generating dialog, maybe that simply is the key goal.

If it develops into a real alternative coffeehouse search engine, it would be seriously useful. Not as anti-starbucks, but as pro-independent.

Alistair Durie

Elysian Coffee

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