Saturday, September 04, 2010

Airlines suck, Orbitz.com...edited

[this is edited from the original post, orbitz saw this post
and commented, then responded by email with a voucher and an apology,
which was nice of them]



Orbitz.com is crap and should be shunned. (what's the hypertext
for shunning?) They added travel insurance to a ticket I bought
($40!), it must have been opt in because I certainly didn't click
no travel insurance (sic). Then, the return ticket is non-changeable
after flying the first leg. If I were an honest person and writing
the fare rules, I'd put that first, before the "changeable with a fee"
line. screw them, I break with thee, here's some dog poopoo for your shoes.

Continental.com's website was written by teenagers. it blows up when
I use a credit card with an italy address, when I used a card that still
has an american address it appeared that it bought the ticket, giving a message
that the return leg hasn't been ticketed because it's on a partner, but
in reality none of it was ticketed because the credit card was declined
due to suspected fraud (BofA sucks too), but Continental's crap website
didn't say that, it gave a confirmation number and it looked like the
ticket was there.

Of course when my family tried to travel on that ticket, there was no ticket,
never purchased, declined. They ended up traveling on cash on hand, piggy
banks and borrowed money. While I was alternately calling bofA and continental
trying to figure out what was going on, the receipt for the ticket from
continental drifted down like snow into my in box. What the hell.

I finally downloaded skype so I had a phone that could call 1800 numbers
for free (no iguana needed) but I had no headphones and had to spend a
morning shouting into my keyboard trying to shout at continental and
BofA. (their answer, we're sorry but fuck off)

So to recap, I'm an idiot for not calling and confirming tickets, but I have
an excuse, I was traveling in a foreign land where my cell phone connects via
iguana. Orbitz sucks and it will be a cold day in hell before I use them again.
Continental sucks and their website sucks, but until KLM starts flying more
in the western hemisphere we're screwed.

Edited with strikethroughs. added this rant:

I think there's a business opportunity for a travel agent that handles travel, hotels and taxi's. Corporate travel departments do such a poor job of buying tickets that I tend to go online and find them myself and buy them, but if you call the airlines they charge $20 for the call. If I was running an airline, rather than screwing customers out of $50 for a bag to improve profitability, I'd be stealing customers by waving the bag fee if you show the competitor's elite card, and instead of charging
to call for a ticket, sell-up while you've got a customer on the phone.

Anyway, there's a gap between on the web retailers and walk-in travel agents that sell tours and cruises.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Katrina Revisited

We're in the New Orleans area for a few days and
it's the 5th anniversary of Katrina. We didn't see
much riding through town, it looks like NO east is still
pretty beat up looking though.

Watching the coverage of Katrina from a local news perspective
made me go back to see what I wrote at the time, and it made
me think I would have done a better job as governor or mayor
than those dodos did.


Mayor Nagin just ordered a mandatory evacuation, by
reading the legaleze version of the order instead of saying
more plainly it is time to leave, and if you don't leave no
one will come rescue you.

Hopefully it wasn't poorly executed and too late.

Governor blanco just mentioned that President Bush called to
make sure there was a mandatory evactuation.

She keeps mentioning being blessed, and she keeps repeating
herself and mentioning flying in and looking at the traffic.
Instead of a governor she is really just a traffic reporter
and a bad one at that.

I voted for Bobby Jindal, and I wish that fast talking guy had
won.

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Airport floor blogging

I'm traveling from europe back to the western hemisphere
and my laptop's battery died. There are power plugs in one
of the houston terminal b corridors of despair, but non are
near a chair so I must sit indian style on the ground, looking
like an unjolly budda.

I did miss a flight yesterday and get stuck in Rome. The
other option was waiting six hours then flying standby to spend
the night in Newark. I skipped the standby and stayed in Rome.
I did a nice hike from the Vatican to the Pantheon, then
through all the fori and all the way south to somebody's bath
(caracella? pretty impressive ruins of a giant bathhouse)

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Moving on up

I'm changing URL's for this blog, I started to when
we moved to colombia, but I never really have time.

Please update your links.

http://farsouthofi-10.blogspot.com/

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Let us drink, let us sing, let us for one more night spit in the face of death!

Another flowchart today from Achewood.
Any time a cartoon includes a flowchart spitting in the face
of death, you gotta love it. (pretty uneven cartoon, though,
but when the topics range from lying robots to gay porn, ya
gotta expect that.

It could be eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow some
crazy korean kid could blow us all away!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Solar power putz's

The Nytimes has an article today about how solar power still doesn't
make economic sense. They use an example for a house with a system
that costs $54000, which to me seems excessive. The only way solar
power will make sense for anyone is to first cut down the demand side
of the equation, you can't solar power conventional air conditioning!

I took a class a few years ago on designing and installing PV systems,
and I learned from that class that it is possible to either be a shark
and screw people out of a lot of money and sell them things they don't
need, or you have to live like the instructor did, in a crappy 30 year old
camper. The 3rd way to live would probably entail me continuing to work
in the oilfield while selling PV on weekends.

To me, the people that installed a $54000 system are sharks. A rule of
thumb would guestimate a pv system costing $15/watt installed. So a $54000
system would be a 3.5 kilowatt system, and if New Jersey gets 4-5 usable
hours
of sunlight per day, then they would generate about 505 kwh/month,
to try and meet the demands of a macmansion.

The better way that makes economic sense is to cut back on electricity usage,
use gas for heating, cooking and drying. Then replace all lights with florescents
that it's possible to put up with, then cut out all the thief loads and turn off
TV's, vcr's and computers that aren't in use with powerstrips. Every watt
you save on load saves you $15.

In New Jersey you could probably live without air conditioning, in Houston,
not so much. In order to try and be green in Houston you'd really need a
ground loop heat pump, which is probably the most cost effective thing
to do in areas that need aircon.

The ideal isn't just to spend money to propitiate the green gods [A la al gore]
or to live in caves without internet, but to sensibly cut back and save energy and
money, then put up a PV system that will cover the load.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Here's your sign.

Bill Whittle at Eject,Eject, Eject has a fantastic post rebutting conspiracy theories
that is like a cool wind blowing through a teenagers fetid bedroom,
his post has the cleansing power of logic to sweep away the augean
stables of stupidity that infests the modern world.

My favorite quote:

ALL of these 9/11 conspiracy sites have museum-grade idiots stating what “obviously” happens at velocities and temperatures that they are flat-out incapable of understanding. Not only are these people too stupid to understand the physics involved with what they are bloviating about…they are too stupid to realize that they are too stupid.

Too many people believe the conspiracy theories in the world today.
They use magical thinking instead of logic and science, which tells me that
when the world crashes some day, it'll be hundreds of years before it gets
back to the same level again since society is currently dismembering the
enlightenment structure that got us to this point, we're racing back to the
16th centry "if she weighs the same as a duck she's a witch" logic.

There are people that hold the stupidest viewpoints about things they know
nothing about:

Fire can't melt steel. The government is an evil nazi dictatorship, let's go
protest and shit on a flag trusting the same nazis to not arrest us. Iran is
a haven of democracy. Russia, france and china have the world's best interest
at heart, the USA only acts for the benefit of oil companies. Iraq is a war
for oil where we're willing to spend trillions of dollars just so that someday
we'll have the right to buy oil at market price.

Bill Whittle says all this a lot better than I ever could, he hits the truthers with
shotgun blasts of reality, too bad they are too deranged to read it.
I'm going to print and laminate his post to show it to people as soon
as the first flecks of foam appear on their lips; here stupid, here's your sign.