Thursday, December 18, 2008

easyjet - bite me

Earlier this morning I received an e-mail from the discount European airline EasyJet. Apparently it was decided in October that taxes would be raised for flights and they didn't get around to charging me for it until NOW. You know, after my flight. Here's the text of the e-mail:

Important Passenger Information- Tax Payment Required

We are writing to inform you that unfortunately we have had to increase the communal tax (similar to APD, Air Passenger Duty) applicable to all flights departing from all Italian airports, by €2.

This is the result of a change in the decree n.166 of 27/10/2008 approved by the Italian Authorities. Please click here to the Ministry of Finance site where the specific decree is published.

Although easyJet strongly disagrees with this surcharge, we have to collect this amount from our passengers, including those who have booked a flight from Italy prior to this law coming into force. This also, regrettably affects passengers who have already travelled with us. Unfortunately as you will be aware as per our terms and conditions if taxes and charges outside of our control are raised, we are obliged to pass on the cost to you the customer.

To make this payment, please click here . Alternatively, you can log into your 'My' account by clicking here and make your payment there.

Once again we would like to apologise for this situation which unfortunately is beyond easyJet's control and we are looking forward to welcoming you onboard an easyJet flight in the near future.

Kind regards

Customer Experience Team
And what's this "kind regards" crap? Whatever. Were they a good airline, I would have expected their company to choke up the €2 for passengers who have already paid/traveled and call it good. Hey EasyJet, guess who isn't going to fly with you again? Yeah, that's me!

Unkind regards


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

friendfeed - cool web 2.0 tool

Okay folks, this isn't a regular post but actually homework for my library web design and development class. I figured I'd drive home the "2.0" element by posting it to this blog instead of making a lame-o word doc.

The web 2.0 tool that I've been exploring for class is Friendfeed. I played around with it several months ago, but only had a few friends that used it, so quickly dismissed it. A few months ago I gave it another try and my interest lasted several weeks. By now you may be asking "what the heck is it?" To put it simply, it's a social networking aggregator. It pulls in social actions from all of your networks: facebook, myspace, flickr, etc. It builds a new social network that crosses all of those network and includes some people you may not even know (i.e. friends of friends).

So once you have it set up to work with facebook, flickr, etc. and you update your Facebook status, you will automatically publish a new Friendfeed item reflecting the new status. The neat (and possibly not) thing is that this update in Friendfeed may be commented on, but in FF--in no way connected to Facebook. It's an interesting way to keep conversations about the same stuff separate. The one negative part to this that I can consider is that FF imposes a barrier to dialogue across networks, it would be really cool if someone commented on a Facebook item and that comment was then fed also back to Facebook and posted there too. FF also allows items to be posted natively within itself, not drawn from other networks.

Back to the part about becoming friends with people you don't know. When you register your existing social networks, FF looks to see if your friends from those networks use FF, if so, it puts them in your friend list. From then on you get all updates from those folks, as well as some updates from their friends, especially if there are several mutual friends-of-friends going on. I really expanded my social network by all of this peripheral friend action, eventually adding several of them to facebook, flickr, twitter, etc.

One of the biggest drawbacks of Friendfeed is that it is a timesink. So you have friends commenting on a post in Facebook, then you have FF friends commenting on the same post in FF. Now you have to visit two places to view those comments. You get the idea. Not to mention you have incoming info from your friends, as well as their friends, which during certain times of the day can be a huge amount of information. I quickly worked up to spending 2 or 3 hours per day on FF because goodness knows it's impolite to miss anything! After a few weeks of this I had to just stop using it, I was wasting too much time, even though the high degree of connectedness was so very satisfying. I haven't yet tried FF as a casual rainy-day tool. The ability to toggle greater/lesser interest in certain webs of friends might be useful to help cut down "fluff."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

newest employment skill: stripping

So I just got home from my day with the oral surgeon. Pretty sore, but good to go otherwise. Anyway, that's not the point of this posting.

Since I have nothing better to do, I'm online. I saw another job listed for Vanderbilt University so am in the process of applying for it using their online application system. There is a section of the application where you may choose applicable job skills from a long list. Not too many on the list apply to me, mostly just computer applications. However, I ran across one gem of a skill: stripping. screenshot of job skill stripper selected in listI'm really not exactly sure what they mean by this. My initial reaction was a giggle and then my sensible grown-up reaction went something like: "hmm, stripping paint and finishes I suppose? maybe even wax from floors?" but then I went a step further and thought "well, this is an affluent school, in the South, maybe they have gentleman's clubs on campus?" Can they use student employees? Are faculty allowed to go? There spews forth a slew of awkward but fascinating questions in this hypothetical situation. I'm pretty entertained by myself, but then, it could just be the schedule II narcotics (oxycodone) talking.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

salmon, trout, coho got your IM?

So I've had this weird thing happen to me a few times over the past year or so. I'll be logged in to my AIM account minding my own business and then I get some crazy message from someone with a username containing the words "salmon," "trout," or "coho." They have happened chronologically in that order. My most recent is named "spiedoncoho." Fun, right? I just assumed it was someone who knew me and was having a good time at my expense when I would respond "umm, who are you?"

I finally smartened up and decided I needed to do some searching and find out just what is going on. My MLS is coming in slightly handy and I got to the dirt on my first Google search. I have been the victim of an IM "bot." Essentially an internet robot that is faking conversations between people. These particular bots send a message to a user, with the sending username one of these fish names. Then when I reply, they connect the reply to another actual IM user, who gets my message seemingly randomly. Crazy, huh? So then they ask why I'm messaging them, and I say no, you messaged me first. Hah.

You can read more about this, what has been called on the net "The Great Hatsby." This is kind of irritating, and luckily on this wikipedia page it tells you how to opt out. All you have to do is type in $optout and it gives you the instructions, it worked perfectly! The article also goes on to say that the usernames were commonly harvested from Livejournal, Xanga, and deviantART accounts.

One mystery solved, dozens to go!

Monday, September 08, 2008

bad dreams

I never have bad dreams. Sometimes I have unusual ones, or some that are dark, but they never make me scared or nervous. Until last night. I was really tired earlier in the evening, but way too early to go to sleep. So instead I stayed up chatting with a friend and then retiring to bed to read for an hour or so. Too late, really. Then about an hour or so later I'm having one of those half dream/half reality moments where I think I'm sleeping in my living room and there is an odd glowing light in the corner and I clearly hear booted footsteps going across my hardwood floor. At that point I was feeling total and complete irrational panic.

I knew that Gus was in the house with me so started quietly calling him. Normally he would've come dashing into the room, delighted to be called, but he didn't. So I got louder and louder calling him. Then I heard the footsteps coming closer to me, but for some reason I couldn't move. I was convinced that whoever was in the room would be killing me at any moment.

Then I woke up to the sound of Gus barking outside my bedroom door. I realized that I was in my bedroom with the door closed and I was alone. I switched on my light and got up and opened the door. Poor Gus, he was in a panic trying to get in the door. Apparently I was actually calling him in my sleep and then he freaked out and was trying to get to me. Doing so woke me up, so I guess he did help after all. Good boy, Gus.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Too long for Twitter!

I haven't done much of this in the past months, but I have a story to get off my chest that it just too long for Twitter. Well, nothing is too long for Twitter really, but not in a reveal of the full context sort of way.

Twitter version: On phone with friend in MA, sees ex-bf vehicle when arriving home, hangs up to haul things inside. Doesn't call back. I call father, all ok.

That doesn't exactly do it.

Regular blogged version: I have an amazing friend in Massachusetts that I only talk with every 4-6 months. We're both very busy people and the intersections are very few. She called me last night just as I was getting ready to call it a night at work. So far so good. She was driving home from somewhere and we talked for about 10 minutes. When she got home she saw her ex-boyfriend's vehicle in her apartment complex parking lot. I could tell by her voice that this was very shocking/disturbing to her. A minute or so later she asks if she can call me back because she needs to haul things into her apartment. I say sure, she says great, she'll call me *right* back.

Right about then is when my two reference questions via IM are really going strong (FYI, the phone conversation didn't start until after the library closed, but since I didn't close the chat client immediately, I got a question 2 minutes after closing, arg!). One of the questions involves complex troubleshooting to figure out if our proxy server is to blame, or Serials Solutions. About 35 minutes later I'm finally done and can go home, then I check my phone and notice she hadn't called. Said friend always follows through when she says she'll do something.

So, I call her back thinking maybe she got caught up in something after getting home and forgot to call me back. So I call and her cell phone rings and rings with no answer. At that point I start to panic a bit, remembering her shock over seeing the vehicle of the ex-bf. Then I start to wonder--what if something is going on? This girl always attracts the biggest losers and has been very seriously stalked once before.

Okay, so now I'm starting to freak out a little and am trying to decide what to do. Since we only call or MySpace each other, I don't have a home address or even city name for her location. I was thinking of calling her local police and asking them to check on her. I did however have her parents' phone number. Oh, dilemma! I didn't want to worry anyone unduly, but couldn't think of anything else to do. Just in case something bad was happening, anything is fair game, right? So I called and got her dad on the phone (which is very good, since he's a very calm and level-headed man, her mother probably would've panicked beyond belief) and explain who I am and what happened. He gets my # and says he'll get right to it.

About 5 minutes later I get a phone call from my friend apologizing profusely. Apparently she had her cell phone on silent and was indeed caught up inside her apartment putting things away, using the bathroom, and kind of freaking out about seeing the ex-bf's vehicle. She actually did forget to call me back, which is unusual for her. Luckily, she has a landline, which her father called and was able to get through.

I felt like a bit of a chump, but really, I don't think I had any other options. I feel bad for giving her father's life a few minutes of extreme worry--but I hope he is glad that I was trying to help in what I thought might have been a bad situation.

Now that it's the next day, my actions DO seem a little extreme. However, what would YOU do if it were your very good female friend alone late at night in a parking lot and she does not call you back or answer her phone?

Friday, June 27, 2008

ALA Part 2

I had breakfast by myself at the Hilton this morning--$8 for some Oatmeal. Yeah, I know. It was supposedly "Irish" oatmeal and included fresh mango and strawberries. It was actually pretty tasty.

Finally, time to get my power adapter back so I don't go crazy! I found Laurie's session, which happened to be in my own hotel and nabbed the power goodness. I immediately came over to the conference center to check out this free wireless I had heard so much about. It is lovely, along with the newfound electricity for the macbook.

While there I spied sandwich lunches outside of a session, everyone involved seems to have already eaten, so they are leftovers. I discover via Twitter that my friend Shondra is close to the conference center and hungry--so I offer up one of the free sandwiches I have no right to offer. We eat our sandwiches and chat for awhile, then find where she can pick up her giant orange conference bag and name badge holder.

Now I've scheduled myself for a session at the New Members Round Table (NMRT) Resume Review Service (RRS) at 3:30 pm. I'm excited to have someone look at my CV and tell me what they think, I could use some honest feedback by someone who doesn't know me and can be mostly unbiased.

Tomorrow I'll be cruising through the placement service area hoping to impress a few folks and get some job leads. Wish me luck!

ALA Part 1

So I'm already a day late on my postings.

Yesterday (Thursday) was long but mostly uneventful.

6:40 am - My roommate Katie took me to the OSU Bookstore to catch the HUT shuttle to PDX.

9:30 am - The first blunder of the day is that I forgot my macbook power adapter at home. I think it's the only thing I left, though a pretty significant one. I immediately called my roommate Katie and asked if she'd be home for awhile. She said yes.

9:45 am - I hear back from a co-worker librarian, Laurie, she's catching an afternoon flight and will be home until 1 pm.

10:00 am - I call the roommate and arrange for her to drop the adapter at Laurie's house so she can bring it to Anaheim for me.


I did a bunch of walking down until I spied Margaret and Sue then cyber-stalked them via text message and invited myself to dinner with them. Margaret bought me dinner which was supremely nice of her. I had an Ahi sandwich, 2 "double-barrel ale"'s, and 1 guinness. w00t!

Back to the hotel for some relaxing chat with the conference roomie Maureen and then sleepy-time.

The Hilton is doing construction, in a room adjacent to mine. Hammering at 8 am is not welcome. Ever.