Friday Grab Bag

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I Loathe United

Originally uploaded by sogrady.

Having spent the bulk of my day either in Impress (OO.o’s Powerpoint equiv) or cursing at it, I don’t have much substantive for you; my notes on the Apollo/JavaFX/Silverlight thing are too nascent to let me kick out something quickly.

In other words, it’s time for a traditional Friday grab bag.

  • Yes, I Still Loathe United:
    When I’m the master of my own itinerary, there are basically only two airlines I’ll fly these days: Frontier (west coast trips out of Denver) and JetBlue (everything else). If they’re not the lowest cost option, they’re usually not more than $30 or $40 more expensive than the alternative, at least on the routes I fly. Throw in their better customer service, planes, and frequent traveler programs and it’s not really a tough call.

    But there are those times when I’m not master of my itinerary, but rather have to book through a travel service, and they tend to make me unhappy. Why? Because I have to fly United, and honestly, they seem to be seeking new ways to make me hate them. It’s bad enough that they shoehorn you into their cattle car configured seats (and this was before the guy in front of me jacked his seat down into my lap), but you are apparently not allowed to move. That’s right. That privilege – like human sized seats – is reserved for “Economy Plus” guests. Full row open next to you? Sorry, stay in your middle seat. Unbelievable.

    And to answer the question posed by Sweetly, Bitterly, I drank nothing out of that nasty styrofoam cup: it was waiting for me when I boarded.

  • Cameraphones?
    Like Alex, I may be coming around on the subject of cameraphones. Not in the sense that I believe they’d be an adequate replacement for a legitimate camera, but more that it might prove to be adequate for my relatively modest needs.

    The camera in my LG CU320, as you’re no doubt aware by now, is a tick above terrible. But the camera in the Nokia N75, another GSM 3G phone offered by Atingular, isn’t that bad. Would it suffice for the conference, etc pictures? Perhaps.

  • Learning Linux?
    Someone asked me the other day how hard it was to learn Linux, and I flippantly compared it to making beer. Here’s what I meant by that. When I first made beer, I was more than seriously concerned that I was going to singlehandedly create some new form of bacterial life, and consign myself to a more painful death than botulism provides for. Eventually I confessed this terrible inner fear to a brewer, who politely informed me that there isn’t a known harmful bacteria that can exist in beer, so the worst I could expect was a couple of hours effort expended on a beer classifiable as a crime against humanity.

    Linux, provided you’re not learning on your only piece of hardware, is much the same way. You’re going to make mistakes, and you may occasionally ruin a machine, but there’s not much – in my experience – that you can do to actually damage it. So don’t be afraid, just jump in.

  • Bluetooth Headset:
    Never been a big fan of the Bluetooth headset look, but given the amount of time I spend talking to people while driving, it was more or less inevitable that I get one. Like a bunch of other folks, I was curious as to how the Jawbone‘s noise cancelling performed, because it might obviate the need to roll up the windows while talking. From a quick test with Alex, it seems legit. Ergo, I’ll be purchasing one of these in time for my travel east. If anyone has an objection to this, speak now or forever hold your peace.
  • Craigslist:
    As I told a friend on Wednesday over drinks, I’ve been regaling all manner of audiences with a story that he related to me last time we spoke. This being a family friendly blog, I won’t go into specifics (ask me about it the next time you see me), but suffice it to say there are things on Craigslist I never knew were there. I know intellectually that open, participatory communities can surprise you with what they generate, but wow.

And that’s all for now folks. Enjoy your respective weekends.


  1. It’s funny, I go out of my way to fly United because I can be virtually assured of decent legroom in Econ. Plus.

  2. I hate to point out the obvious but no one who wears a bluetooth headset deserves legroom of any sort.

    At least that’s what I read in Hammurabi.

  3. Alex: i can get that fairly easily on JetBlue at no additional cost, plus have my own TV for the longer hauls. and Frontier’s very good about giving Summit folks exit rows – also with TV.

    overall, i just find that United equipment is older, and that they nickel and dime customers. can’t swing it, but to each their own.

    Bree: how’s the laptop at the coffee shop treating you? šŸ˜‰

    but don’t sweat it, i don’t plan on letting anyone actually see me wear a headset – car use only. like my glasses.

  4. For the headset, make sure you check out the fit and feel. You keep the thing on for a few hours, and it starts to dig in either on the outer ear where the arm sits or where the speaker is if it’s an in-ear type. If you’re used to it, don’t worry, but I went through a couple of the motorola models before settling on the 710. Small, good sound, good fit, and OK (NOT for open-window driving) noise reduction. YMMV.

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